http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog Your Job Search Blueprint for Success! Tue, 10 Feb 2015 21:44:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.12 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/outplacement-services-what-works-what-doesnt/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/outplacement-services-what-works-what-doesnt/#comments Sat, 12 Apr 2014 18:43:53 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=515 Continue reading ]]> Recently, we worked with a client laid-off from a Fortune 500 company after more than 12 years of service. Fortunately, her company provided her with a nice severance package, which included a combination of severance pay and brick and mortar outplacement services.

When she contacted us for a professional resume package and LinkedIn networking profile, I asked her about her personal experience with the outplacement company that her company hired to help her with her job search. She explained that she while she liked the continuing education that the service offered; she was disappointed that professional resume writing and LinkedIn optimization services weren’t a part of the package.

After working with her on her resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn, we matched her with a career coach who provided her with valuable tips on how to tap into the hidden job market and network her way to a new job. The customer told us that in the end, she felt that the professional resume writing and career coaching services she received from Career Wizards were more valuable to her than traditional outplacement services because we provided her with the tools she needed to succeed in her job search.

From 2008 to 2011, Career Wizards partnered with an outplacement firm to provide their Fortune clients’ displaced employees with a full arsenal of professionally prepared job search tools such as customized resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, networking tools, and more. Over a 4-year period, our team of certified professional resume writers wrote thousands of career documents for displaced employees across all job functions and industries. These experiences provided us with significant insight into the frustration of these displaced employees as well as how much they really needed these services to help them land a new job in today’s competitive landscape.

An article in the Wall Street Journal titled Outplacement Firms Struggle to Do Job, raised the questions, why are outplacement providers still providing standardized services that workers say offer little value, and why are companies still paying thousands of dollars per employee for broiler plate services? Good question, why are companies still paying an arm and a leg to outplacement firms struggling to get job seekers back to work? So below are a few tips for companies planning layoffs.

If your company is planning a workforce reduction, make sure the outplacement service provider you select is prepared to deliver tangible services that add-value to your displaced employees’ search by opening doors to opportunities that help them accelerate their time to reemployment. In turn, you will protect your company’s employer brand while reducing tax liabilities, potential legal ramifications, and employee severance costs.

At Career Wizards, each customer receives individualized attention and job search services tailored to meet their unique needs. We simply strip away all the fluff of traditional outplacement services and deliver the key ingredients we know displaced employees value most. After all, displaced employees laid-off through no fault of their own deserve a fair chance of landing a new job in this tough economy.

Once more, we’ve made it easier and more that affordable than ever for our client companies to provide outplacement services for their employees. Just give us a call and we’ll tell you how.

]]> http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/outplacement-services-what-works-what-doesnt/feed/ 1 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/preparing-layoffs/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/preparing-layoffs/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2014 18:05:33 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=540 Continue reading ]]> The economy’s rapid descent took many by surprise. Now that we’re in the midst of one of the most severe economic downturns, here’s something that is not a surprise: layoffs. As consumers continue holding their money close, demand for products and services has fallen. Between sluggish demand and the inability to obtain credit, businesses have no choice but to cut back on production. Layoffs are inevitable across just about all industries. Because layoffs are not a surprise, it’s smart to brace yourself and prepare now.

First, head to your state’s unemployment Web site and learn about unemployment benefits. Would you be eligible to collect unemployment if your company were to lay you off? How much money can you expect to receive? For how long? This information will help you understand your financial options in the event of a layoff. When calculating your monthly unemployment benefits, don’t forget to account for federal and state income taxes as these benefits are taxable as regular income.

Next, dust off your resume and start updating it now. After a layoff, you will be back in the job market. The better prepared you are now, the sooner you can jump in later. Since you haven’t yet been laid off, you have time to learn how to write an effective resume. Check out books at the library and carefully craft your resume.

Start exploring the job market on your own time. What types of jobs are available in your field? Are your skills transferrable to other fields? What type of training might you take now to improve your chances of landing a good job after you’re laid off? Consider taking a career assessment as you explore your options.

Invest in interview attire so that once you’re in the job market, you’ll have the appropriate clothing ready to go. Buying your interview clothes now while you’re employed takes the stress out of doing so after you’ve been laid off. Plus, you’ll be ready to hit the streets soon thereafter because you have already polished your resume and purchased your interview clothes.

As you prepare for layoffs, don’t assume that you are sure to receive a pink slip and don’t give up on the company. Instead, make yourself valuable! Show up early, stay late, take on additional assignments, make your boss look good, and strive to excel at everything you do. In short, you must shine! When you have free time, avoid the temptation to look at job listings online and instead ask your boss for additional work or brainstorm ideas for improving productivity. The more valuable you become, the less likely a pink slip will have your name on it.

Despite your best efforts, you may still be laid off. If so, you’ve prepared for a layoff. You already know if you’re eligible for unemployment; you have polished your resume; you have explored the job market; and you are ready to begin the next phase of your career.

]]> http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/preparing-layoffs/feed/ 0 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/resumes/how-to-make-your-education-stand-out-on-your-resume/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/resumes/how-to-make-your-education-stand-out-on-your-resume/#respond Sat, 08 Feb 2014 23:14:47 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=514 Continue reading ]]> Congratulations! You’ve graduated college and you’re off on your next adventure of finding a new job in your chosen career field. Mom and dad told you that if you went to college and earned a degree you would find a job, be happy in your career, and earn a good living. You did the smart thing by following their advice and now you are expecting to reap the rewards of your efforts with the help of a great resume.

The truth is that once upon a time, a degree under the Education section at the top of a resume was all that was required to enter a chosen field and build a career for oneself, but the economy has changed and the job market has too―it’s more competitive than ever before.

While I don’t want to be a killjoy and dash your hopes of landing a great job, I do want to help you gain the proper perspective as you begin writing your new resume. Our country is in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The cold hard truth is that there may be hundreds of candidates vying for the same job as you, and some of these candidates may be experienced professionals applying for entry-level positions because they are so desperate to find a job.

Okay, so enough of the doom and gloom, now that you know what you’re up against, it’s time to learn how to beat out the competition and win interviews. Yes, that’s right; I said win interviews, because that’s what you’re going to have to do, win! It is important to remember that hiring managers are interested in identifying candidates that have the skills and abilities to do the job, and do it well. True, the degree is an important part of the equation, but that in and of itself, will not win you job interviews.

To win interviews the Education section of your resume is going to have to tell a story about your college career. If you want to make your education stand out in your resume you have to pull out all the ammunition in your education arsenal. Whatever you do, don’t short cut this very important step on your resume. Take your time and do it right so that employers can see that you have the skills and abilities to do the job.

Tip 1: If you are a recent college graduate, list the month and year you graduated in brackets beside the school name and location. If you have not yet graduated list the month and year of anticipated graduation.

Tip 2: List your degree emphasis or minor if it relates to the position you’re applying for, e.g., Minor: Finance, if you are applying for a job in the financial sector.

Tip 3: If you excelled in college with an above average GPA of 3.1 or greater than include this information in brackets beside your degree type. This demonstrates your ability to learn and excel.

Tip 4: If you graduated with honors, say so. If you made Dean’s List say so. Listing your accomplishments In school shows that you know how to set goals and achieve them. Remember that in the minds of hiring managers; past achievements are a predictor of your future successes.

Tip 5: Review your transcripts and see how your coursework stacks up against the job announcement. Once you have identified commonalities, create a subsection of your Education section titled Relevant Coursework. This list will show that you are well prepared for the job while making your resume keyword searchable in applicant tracking systems.

Tip 6: Think back to specific projects that you completed while in college. It doesn’t matter whether they were group projects or individual projects as long as they relate to experience you gained in your college career and are relevant to your job target. List three projects and briefly outline the project scope and outcome. This demonstrates your ability to apply what you’ve learned in the real world.

Tip 7: Think about extra-curricular activities you participated in while you were in school. Were you part of any academic professional associations? Part of a winning sports team? Did you serve on any special committees? If so, be sure to list these activities on your resume and briefly describe your personal contributions.

Tip 8: Did you participate in an exchange program? If so, what country? What did you study there? How long did you live abroad? Did you learn a foreign language? This type of experience is valuable in today’s global business environment, so list it in your resume.

Tip 9: Were you selected by your professor as a research assistant? Did you complete an internship or externship? If so, list these in the Professional Experience section of your resume. Include the name of the school and/or organization, dates you were in the role, your title, your responsibilities, and what you accomplished.

Tip 10: If you worked full-time while in school and do not have an extensive college career story, consider adding a statement to your resume that speaks to your work ethic. A simple sentence is all you need, such as: Worked full-time to pay for 100% of college tuition and living expenses. Consider what this statement tells hiring managers about your personal character.

If you’re reading this article while you are in school, it is not too late to build your college career story. Jump in with both feet and accomplish as much as you possibly can while you are still in school. After all, it is accomplishments that will make your education stand out and win you interviews for that highly coveted dream job. As always, best wishes in your career endeavors.

]]> http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/resumes/how-to-make-your-education-stand-out-on-your-resume/feed/ 0 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/can-linkedin-take-the-place-of-my-resume/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/can-linkedin-take-the-place-of-my-resume/#respond Sat, 04 Jan 2014 05:20:54 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=511 Continue reading ]]> LinkedIn is a great place to be found by recruiters who are seeking passive candidates, but it doesn’t replace the all-important resume. A resume should be a one to two page fact-based, historical document that reflects an individual’s skills, experience, accomplishments, and education. Hiring managers’ use resumes as a tool to identify candidates that are a match for the job(s) they are working to fill. If they like what they see, they will then Google the candidate to learn more about them.

The LinkedIn profile is a great professional networking tool that should be a part of every job seeker’s job search arsenal. However, because LinkedIn is a social networking site for business professionals, it should include “social” elements about you that allow others to relate to you in a variety of ways. These elements include a personal photo, summary, interests, hobbies, causes, etc. It is these very LinkedIn elements that are a big no! No! on a resume.

While both resumes and LinkedIn profiles have a legitimate function as job search tools, it is understood that the two tools should not mirror one another. Eventually a hiring manager will see both job search tools, so it’s important to make sure that each one portrays you in a positive light. Take advantage of the various sections and features in LinkedIn that you didn’t use in your resume. These may include work-related projects, work samples, presentations, volunteer work, videos, and URLs, to name a few.

Remember that you only have one opportunity to make a great first impression with a hiring manager. If you are at a loss as to how to market yourself to potential employers, contact a certified professional resume writer and career coach for job search assistance. It just might be the most important investment you will ever make.

]]> http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/can-linkedin-take-the-place-of-my-resume/feed/ 0 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/career-change/linkedin-a-powerful-networking-platform-for-job-seekers/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/career-change/linkedin-a-powerful-networking-platform-for-job-seekers/#respond Tue, 03 Dec 2013 03:34:28 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=499 Continue reading ]]> Creating a strong social media presence is one of the most powerful things you can do for your career. Whether you are currently looking for a new position or interested in maintaining old connections, social media can breathe new life into your career.

Most people now know the importance of keeping negative information off their Facebook profiles, but fewer take advantage of professional networking sites such as LinkedIn to create a strong, positive social media presence.

LinkedIn is a popular social media site used by millions of people for professional networking. The site is simple to use — you set up a profile, list your skills and experience, and connect with other users.
Your list of connections represents your professional network. These may be former coworkers, leaders in your industry, or friends of friends. Creating online connections with people in your network makes it easier to stay in touch. These individuals become important throughout your career, whether you are starting a new job search, seeking expert opinions, or looking for collaborators on a new project.

Although LinkedIn is easy to use, maximizing your social media potential takes skill and effort. Novice LinkedIn users often just regurgitate their resume into an online format. Recruiters often use keyword searches to find individuals with specific skills or experiences. For optimal results, you must carefully design your online resume to be search friendly.

A LinkedIn profile service can transform your social media presence by ensuring that the information you present online is accurate, professional, and beneficial to your career.

These services can also help you connect to your school alumni networks, professional organizations, and other industry-specific groups. Even if you are satisfied with your current position, maintaining ties with your colleagues and facilitating new contacts allows your professional network to thrive. This safety net will come in handy if you find yourself unemployed or unfulfilled and ready to jumpstart your job search.

Creating a strong social media presence is one of the most powerful things you can do for your career. Whether you are currently looking for a new position or interested in maintaining old connections, social media can breathe new life into your career.

Most people now know the importance of keeping negative information off their Facebook profiles, but fewer take advantage of professional networking sites such as LinkedIn to create a strong, positive social media presence. LinkedIn is a popular social media site used by millions of people for professional networking. The site is simple to use — you set up a profile, list your skills and experience, and connect with other users.

Your list of connections represents your professional network. These may be former coworkers, leaders in your industry, or friends of friends. Creating online connections with people in your network makes it easier to stay in touch. These individuals become important throughout your career, whether you are starting a new job search, seeking expert opinions, or looking for collaborators on a new project.

Although LinkedIn is easy to use, maximizing your social media potential takes skill and effort. Novice LinkedIn users often just regurgitate their resume into an online format. Recruiters often use keyword searches to find individuals with specific skills or experiences. For optimal results, you must carefully design your online resume to be search friendly.

A LinkedIn profile service can transform your social media presence by ensuring that the information you present online is accurate, professional, and beneficial to your career. These services can also help you connect to your school alumni networks, professional organizations, and other industry-specific groups. Even if you are satisfied with your current position, maintaining ties with your colleagues and facilitating new contacts allows your professional network to thrive. This safety net will come in handy if you find yourself unemployed or unfulfilled and ready to jump start your job search.

]]> http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/career-change/linkedin-a-powerful-networking-platform-for-job-seekers/feed/ 0 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/salary/5-ways-to-ask-for-a-raise/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/salary/5-ways-to-ask-for-a-raise/#respond Sat, 03 Aug 2013 01:57:20 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=494 Continue reading ]]> You work hard, you have a proven track record of success, and you think it’s time for a raise. Convincing your boss of the latter can be a bit tricky. You don’t know what other business-wide factors are at play that could affect the decision. Perhaps your boss is thinking of adding a new position and has committed extra funds for that. Or perhaps there’s a new product launch coming up that’s making her really nervous, and now is not a good time.

While you can’t read your boss’s mind, you can tailor your ask for a greater chance of success. These five top ways to ask for a raise are time-tested. While they may not work every time, they’re best practices because they’re not threatening and they won’t pollute the relationship should your boss decline your request.

1. Do Your Homework
What are others getting in your geographical area that have the same job title? Websites like glassdoor.com or onetonline.org can help you do this homework. If you’re receiving significantly — or even slightly — less, this is a strong case for a wage increase. When comparing wages, factor in the company size. If you work for a small business with 10 employees, your boss won’t be able to compensate you the same way a Fortune-500 company could. If you have facts and figures to back up your request, and are paid less than colleagues at other firms, this can help your boss see that it’s time for a raise. This strategy works because it’s not personal, it’s based on the position. You’re asking for a raise to compensate you at the current market rate for people with your title, not on your merit. This makes it difficult to deny your case.

2. Pick the Right Time
While you won’t know everything that’s on your boss mind, you can get a feel for the office temperature by paying attention to what’s coming down the line. If your boss is overwhelmed or distracted, she may not be fully listening to you. If the company’s had a bad quarter, she won’t want to spend. Picking the right time makes your boss the most receptive to your case, which is why this strategy works. Another part of this tip: Set up a meeting with your boss to discuss your performance, instead of asking on the fly.

3. Focus on Your Accomplishments
If you want a raise, demonstrating increased responsibility or project success over time makes a strong case. Accepting a raise implies that you’re also accepting more responsibility. If you can’t follow through or haven’t accomplished anything great, this might not be the right time for you to ask. Employees who have a proven track record of success are much more likely to get a raise than those who are average or under-performing, which is why this technique works so well.

4. Remain Reasonable
Before you ask, prepare yourself to be turned down. This can help you remain reasonable during the conversation. If your boss says yes, that’s great. If she says no and explains the reasons why now is not the right time, listen to her. Threatening to quit will get you a bad reputation around the office. Likewise, stay calm if you’re turned down. Avoid crying, yelling, and other outbursts of emotion.

5. Practice
Before you ask for that raise, practice your pitch. This advice works because it helps you hone your speech and become comfortable with talking up your accomplishments and making your case. Consider asking a friend to role-play with you, taking the boss role. Advocating your case can make you more prepared — and confident — for the real day, boosting your chances to net that rais

]]> http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/salary/5-ways-to-ask-for-a-raise/feed/ 0 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/job-search-tips/how-to-find-a-job-using-linkedin/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/job-search-tips/how-to-find-a-job-using-linkedin/#respond Fri, 24 May 2013 23:30:49 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=459 Continue reading ]]> Learn how to use LinkedIn to expedite your job search by using the Advanced Search feature to connect with decision makers at the companies that you would like to work for.

Check out this informative video on how to use your first degree connections to get introduced to hiring managers that work for the companies on your list of targeted employers by clicking on the link below.

How to find a new job using LinkedIn?

Best wishes in your career endeavors!

]]> http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/job-search-tips/how-to-find-a-job-using-linkedin/feed/ 0 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/career-change/get-the-magic-back-in-your-career-with-a-master%e2%80%99s-degree/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/career-change/get-the-magic-back-in-your-career-with-a-master%e2%80%99s-degree/#respond Tue, 16 Apr 2013 22:38:41 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=451 Continue reading ]]> The New York Times recently wrote an opinion piece entitled “What is a Master’s Degree Worth?” Apparently, a lot more than a bachelor’s degree. But why? It’s called degree inflation, and while there are plenty of bachelor’s degree graduates running around trying to find a job, those who are getting a master’s degree are waiting out the recession in school, gaining a more distinguished degree for a future career. That’s the important thing to note. Graduate degrees provide students with more advanced knowledge, which always looks better to an employer. For those who already have a bachelor’s degree and are currently working, a master’s degree could mean a higher position with more benefits and pay. It could also mean doing something that you’ve always wanted to do and getting paid for it. That’s another good thing about master’s degrees. You can get a master’s degree in almost anything if you have an undergraduate degree in a similar field—or even a subject that’s just a tad related. It all depends on how hard you are willing to work for a graduate school acceptance letter and what your goals are with your career. So why should you go to graduate school? Here are some big reasons that it’s probably the best choice right now.

Career Advantages

Many professions actually require a graduate degree, such as law, health care, school administration, engineering, research and even teaching. State licensing boards actually require that these professionals have a master’s degree. Recent statistics show that now more than ever, employers want to see a master’s degree on the resume, and it’s not hard to see why. Graduate degrees help students improve their training and knowledge. They develop their own theories and gain more skills than someone with a bachelor’s degree. Many students also have worked with professors who also contributed to their specific industries in monumental ways, such as judges, scientists and doctors.

Relationships with Faculty

Graduate students get some pretty amazing perks simply by forming personal relationships with their professors and administrators. Graduate classes are smaller and more dedicated to specific subjects. Relationships with professors are different at the graduate level. There is more discussion and dedication, and you’re expected to put in a greater amount of work. There’s also some trade off. Graduate professors also can admire your work, help you find more opportunities and include you on high profile projects. You will also form connections with other classmates.

Advancing Your Education

By passing on grad school, students really give up a chance to do something more with their education, especially when the job market has little to offer recent graduates. Why stop halfway? Students can actually do more while in graduate school, learn more advanced principles and study specific interests more clearly. They develop their own projects and work one-on-one with professors. While the studies do take more time, you’re also more likely to be around those who are passionate about their education as well and studying just as hard. You can develop a greater passion for your career or change into something completely different that you’ve always been interested in.

The Graduate Management Admission Council recently showed that employers are looking for leadership and communication, but that recruiters are only finding these in graduates with a master’s or doctoral degree. It’s important to realize that the compensation can only go up if you have a higher degree, and that those students who earn the prestige also have the capability of transitioning into job categories that are in desperate need, such as the health care and teaching. You can vastly improve your current career with a master’s degree. All you have to do is realize your interest and pursue your passion.

]]> http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/career-change/get-the-magic-back-in-your-career-with-a-master%e2%80%99s-degree/feed/ 0 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/the-21st-century-workplace/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/the-21st-century-workplace/#respond Wed, 06 Mar 2013 05:58:02 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=433 Continue reading ]]> How will tomorrow’s workforce differ from today?

For most of history, until the early 1900s, people worked until they died. Today, the average American retires at age 62. During this century we will lose the concept of ‘‘retirement’’ and replace it with a more flexible view of work, mixed with periods of leisure throughout all of adulthood. Today, 34 percent of all U.S. workers say they do not plan on retiring.

What kind of jobs will tomorrow’s employers be looking to fill?

Jobs that are inherently meaningful and interesting to each employee; work that enables individuals to exercise their own personal capabilities and strengths. People who love their work invest more of themselves in their jobs, perform better, improve more, and stay longer. Typically, the best employees like to learn, teach, improve, invent, and serve. Although technology will be paramount in tomorrow’s workforce, employees will seek out employers who advocate individuality.

What skills will tomorrow’s workers need to fill those jobs?

America’s youth is always “plugged in” and many are going into the “technology” field… there will be no shortage of techies in the future. However, we are still in need of skilled tradesman. According to Gary Garczynski, a past president of the Home Builders Institute, one of the most pressing problems facing his industry today is a shortage of skilled workers. Contributing to this shortage is the dwindling interest in the skilled trades among America’s younger generations. While the characteristics of the workforce are changing, the significant advances in technology are driving the way our businesses operate. Nevertheless, it takes more than technology to build houses or install plumbing it takes people.

What can we do now to be sure that we are ready when tomorrow arrives at our doorstep?

Focus on people. Companies must put the same energy into optimizing the relationships with their employees as they have invested in optimizing technology in the 20th Century. Having people do what each individual is good at is now the key. Lining up the elements of the employee experience including style of management, nature of the job, and forms of compensation, with each other and with the employees, is essential for a productive workforce. The ability to compete effectively in a growing global marketplace has always been tied directly to our most valuable natural resource—the men and women of our great nation. Our workforce has always been the backbone of our economy. That needs to be the promise of the 21st Century workplace.

]]> http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/the-21st-century-workplace/feed/ 0 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/job-search-blue-print-the-electronic-age/ http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/uncategorized/job-search-blue-print-the-electronic-age/#respond Sun, 03 Feb 2013 04:02:37 +0000 http://www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog/?p=421 Continue reading ]]> Need to know the most efficient way to conduct a job search in this new electronic age? Well you have arrived at the right place. Today, we will share our job search secrets by providing you with an easy-to-follow job search blueprint that you can use to land a job in half the time. So stop beating your head against the proverbial brick wall and follow along with us as we take you through these five easy steps.

Step One – Establish your job target.

Just like in business you need a plan that is going to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. In order to create a plan you need to have a clear goal in mind. The first step is to decide what kind of job you will target. For some, this is very simple, they want to continue on the same career path. For others, like college graduates or career changers, this can be more challenging. If you need help in this area spend some time at ONET using their free career assessment tools. These tools can help you narrow the field and focus in on your job target. If identifying your job target on your own is too mind-boggling, you should consider working with a career coach that can help you in this area.

Step Two – Polish your resume.

In Step One we discussed the importance of establishing a job target. As we progress through each step of the Job Search Blue Print, you will begin to see how all of the pieces come together. The reason that we have you identify your job target first is so that you can make sure that your resume has the proper keywords in it to get you noticed by perspective employers. Spend some time reviewing job advertisements for the types of positions you are targeting. Within the job requirements or qualifications section, you will begin noticing the same types of words running though many different job descriptions, thus the term keywords. To find more resume keywords, research industry trends and visit professional association Web sites. Once you have identified the keywords specific to your search, sprinkle them throughout your resume. If you don’t have the time to conduct the research necessary to identify the proper resume keywords, consider hiring a certified professional resume writer to help you.

You see, when you apply for jobs online your resume will typically wind up in what is called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS is a database where companies store resumes they have received from applicants for the various job openings they have advertised. When they are ready to begin the screening process, they simply search the database for applicants that match their hiring criteria. This is done using a keyword search, much like you search Google when you are looking for a specific product or service. If your resume has the proper keywords for the job position you are targeting, actual people will review your resume. If not, your resume will remain in the proverbial black hole forever.

Step Three – Establish or update a LinkedIn account.

In Step Two we discussed how to make sure that your resume has the proper keywords in it for the types of positions that you are targeting, so that it comes up in keyword searches when employers are looking for someone with your qualifications. But applying on corporate Web sites and job boards is not enough. Remember that there are quite possibly hundreds of other qualified professionals vying for those very same jobs. The absolute best way to find a job is through networking to uncover hidden jobs that you otherwise would not have known about.

Approximately 80% of recruiters today, use LinkedIn as a primary tool for sourcing qualified candidates. That said, if you do not have a presence there you are missing out on an important part of the hidden job market. LinkedIn is also a great place to reconnect with people and catch-up. Yes, that’s right, we have now ventured into word-of-mouth marketing, the very best way to find a job. The truth is people really do love to help, but first they need to know that you are looking for a job. A word of caution here, make sure that your LinkedIn Profile is just as polished as your resume, and 100% complete, before you enable it for public viewing. If you’re not confident with your profile consult a professional for assistance.

Step Four – Distribute your resume.

In Step Three we touched on the value of LinkedIn as an important part of your networking strategy so we’ll round out the discussion with another very important tool known as resume distribution. Resume distribution is a process whereby a job seeker is matched to hundreds of member companies based on their job function, industry, and geographic preference. This approach will save you countless hours of research time in creating a similar list. In addition, resume distribution can add tremendous value to your networking strategy by gaining access to unadvertised jobs that many recruiting and staffing firms boast. Lastly, you can have your resume in the hands of hundreds of recruiters and hiring managers in as little as three days. Now that’s what I call fast!

Step Five – Brush up on your interview skills.

In Step Four we talked about an incredibly fast way to get your resume into the hands of hundreds of decision makers. Now it’s time for the telephone to ring with invitations to job interviews. By now you will have invested a great deal of time effort into ensuring your success at landing a new job. Question is, “Can you talk the talk?” Proper preparation really is the key to excellent interview skills. For some it comes natural, but for others their nerves can get the best of them. If you have experience interviewing and feel pretty confident, practicing with friends and family members could do the trick. On the other hand, if you are inexperienced or nervous about interviewing then you may need professional interview skills training to win the job you want.

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