Be Advised:
More Employers are Searching Social Media Sites!

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“You are what you share.”

~ C.W. Leadbeater ~

Client Isaac Asks: I work in the IT industry, and I’m preparing to search for a new position. I know that some companies are using Google to check out prospective employees. Should I be worried about this, and if so, what steps can I take to make sure prospective employees don’t find anything that could hurt me?

Coach Joel Answers: Employers don’t just use Google to check out job candidates, they’re relying more on social networking. In fact, a study conducted by CareerBuilder found that 37 percent of employers use social mediasites to research potential job candidates.

Information technology companies are most likely to screen candidates this way. Some 63 percent of tech companies surveyed are scouring sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace to get an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at candidates they just can’t get from interviewing or reading resumes.

So if you’re in the job market – or may be in the future – be aware of what you put out on the Internet. If it’s out there – good or bad – it’s just a mouse click away from a hiring manager.

And the results can be catastrophic. CareerBuilder’s survey revealed that 35 percent of employers found social mediacontent that caused them not to hire a candidate.

With that in mind, here are some tips:

  • Google your name to see what content is out there on the internet.
  • Check out the other major social networks to make sure you have made the impression you want to make.
  • Identify the web pages where you have posted your resume or other work-related items and make sure they are up-to-date and reflect on you positively.
  • Remove any content that reflects negatively on you. You don’t want a bad reputation online.
  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs or information top the list of red flags to employers. When in doubt, take it out.
  • Create positive content about yourself and try to get it to be as high as possible in the search results.
  • Write and submit well researched, articulate letters-to-the-editor to the top trade publications in your industry. Focus on current, relevant issues.
  • Purchase your name as a domain name and create an active website that makes the best impression possible.
  • Post articles that you write that show your expertise on free publisher websites.
  • Write comments on other blogs that show your level of intelligence, expertise and experience.
  • Create a blog and write quality content for it.

Select two of the above tips and commit to working on them this week to ensure that your online presence gives a positive impression.

Talkback: Have you ever been denied a job or promotion because of something an employer found online? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image courtesy of hh5800 / iStockphoto.com

How an Outplacement Plan Can Empower Middle-Aged Workers Find a Job

Unemployed

“Your success depends on what you do yourself, with your own means.”

~ P. T. Barnum ~

There’s nothing like losing your job when you’re in your late 40s or 50s. A lost job comes with the challenges of searching for a new job, trying to pay the bills, and supporting a family all at the same time.

No one knew this better than Roy Shah. In his late 40s, having worked as a senior executive in the supply chain department of his firm for over twelve years, Roy was laid off along with a few other senior managers in his department. Almost a year later, after finding nothing in his field and experiencing six months of mild depression, Roy ran across one of his previous colleagues, Jim, at the local coffee shop.

Jim was in an upbeat mood. He said he’d never felt better and that “investing in an outplacement plan had been a life-changer.” Roy was all ears. Over a cup of java, Jim told Roy how he had been jobless for eight months straight and decided to get a mentor. Jim said his job search coach helped him to reprogram some of his thinking, which led him to landing a job in a short span of time.

Here are three things Jim told Roy that he learned from his individually planned outplacement work coaching sessions:

  1. Don’t be attached to your title. Detach yourself from your title and you’ll be more open to looking for a job in another industry or taking orders from someone younger than you. Carrying your title can prove to be a heavy burden if it restricts you from learning new skills to get ahead.
  2. Act fast. The more you wait, the more you tend to procrastinate. Don’t kill time until your funds run out. If you were laid off, there’s a good chance there are hundreds like you in the same boat. If a job opportunity does open up, who do you think will get in? The one who sits at home and watches sitcoms? Or the one who networks and has the most drive, influence, and motivation? Jim urged Roy to act with a sense of urgency.
  3. Rediscover your skills. Jim told Roy how his job search coach helped him discover his passion and use it to make a living. “Besides my day job, I now write a featured column for a monthly newsletter. It doesn’t pay all the bills but it helps me stand out as an expert in front of hundreds of people and gives me authority and credibility.” Getting out there in front of people and branding yourself as an expert in your field can help you catch the eye of potential recruiters and maybe even receive a job offer.

Jim sympathized with Roy’s concerns that starting over is difficult, especially for middle aged workers. But he suggested Roy keep his options open and be optimistic. Accepting the fact that you might have to detach yourself from your past achievements or settle for lower compensation doesn’t mean you can’t get it all back in time.

“It’s a challenge, but with the right help you can get through it and actually come out stronger,” reassured Jim.

Roy invested in his own tailored plan for outplacement designed for his unique individual needs. With raised self-esteem, a brand new LinkedIn profile, and an action plan for achieving his goals, Roy has the confidence he needs to build influence, form new relationships, and get ahead in his career and his life.

Check out our proven nine-step outplacement program, which provides a structured approach to keep you motivated and focused, and empowers you to find a new job in the shortest period of time—no matter what your age. 

Talkback: Are you middle-aged and jobless? What are some of the challenges you currently face? Talk to uswe’re here to help.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Find Your Dream Job

Dream Job
“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”

~ Oprah Winfrey ~

Are you trying to find your dream job? One approach is to have a solid online presence and online marketing strategy. With that said, how you project yourself online can make or break your job search efforts. Here are 3 deadly mistakes you can’t afford to make when using the Internet to find your dream job:

  1. Relying on just online marketing. If you think applying to hundreds of jobs online gives you a better chance of landing your dream job, you’re dead wrong. Imagine thousands of applicants aspiring for the same job–this could spell disaster for you and for the employer who posted the job. Could this mean many employers may choose not to post the job online?  From my experience I know this: the best jobs are never posted but are found through networking and contacts. That’s something to think about.
  2. Focusing on quantity not quality. There are literally hundreds of social media portals out there. Trying to post your online profile on all of them is like spreading your net out as wide as you can but not catching anything at the end of the day. A better approach is to focus on building your online profile on some of the most populare and well-respected sites out there. LinkedIn is a good example. Focus on one or two sites to demonstrate your skills, experience, make contacts and build positive relationships in your industry.
  3. Playing the waiting game. One of the worst things you can do is to build your online profile and NOT do anything after that. Don’t assume people will land on your profile, contact you and hand you your dream job on a silver platter. You’ve got to work hard with online networking. Connect with people offline and tell them to connect with you on LinkedIn, for example. Join industry-related groups and be a part of the conversation. Leave helpful comments on other people’s posts. Demonstrate that you’re an expert in your niche. All of this will help increase your visibility at work, which just might catch the eye of a headhunter or your future employer.

Understand that without a doubt, potential recruiters are going to look you up online. Maintaining a strong online profile is essential to finding your dream job. However, a successful job search program or plan does not only involve having an online presence and using online marketing.

Traditional methods like using influence, getting others to perceive you positively, and building your brand are equally if not more important to get ahead in your career.

So the next time you connect with someone online, also remember to network face-to-face, recruit a person of influence to hand-deliver your resume to the HR manager, and assume that your prospective employer will be conducting a search for you on Google. With all the right elements put into place you’ll be well on your way to finding the job of your dreams.

Looking for concrete tips on building your online profile? Read this blog post or schedule an appointment with Joel Garfinkle to get the dream job coaching you need to succeed!

Image: Phaitoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pursuing Your Dream Job

Dare Dream Do by Whitney L. Johnson

“When we dream we make meaning of life, discover the essence of ourselves, truly grow up, and most importantly, model for children how to dream.”

~ Whitney L. Johnson ~

Years ago, an associate of mine was working in a job that had already made him more money than most Americans earn in a lifetime. Right out of college, he landed a position with a major tech company and helped design several iterations of the world’s leading networking equipment.

Some might call my associate’s career a study in success—a perfect example of how a smart, hard-working, enterprising individual could still do great things in America. Only, the man wasn’t happy. In fact, he was miserable. He was tired of networks and technology and wished his life had taken a different direction. In other words, he felt trapped.

He was also paralyzed by fear. He attributed most of his success to luck, circumstances, and youthful enthusiasm. More than halfway through his life, how could he dramatically change its trajectory, yet still meet all of his financial obligations? More importantly, did he have what it took to do something new?

The man eventually hired me as a career coach, and several months later he made the transition into a C-level position at a leading nonprofit organization. When he and I reflected on his success, he said, “I think it’s the questions we discussed, the ones right at the beginning, that made it all possible. Once I realized I could answer them all in the affirmative, I knew I had what it took to make a change.”

Those questions are reproduced here:

  1. Can you invest hours of your free time in learning something new? Most people’s dream job—whether it’s a director of marketing, a boarding school history teacher, or a chief information officer—requires a high degree of expertise in a diverse set of specialized skills. Those skills take time, effort, and intentional practice to master.
  2. Are you willing to accept rejection? It’s the extremely rare individual who lands his or her dream job on the first interview. Just as J. K. Rowling received dozens of rejection letters before having her first Harry Potter manuscript accepted, most dream job seekers will have to deal with being turned away by HR.
  3. Do you know how to talk with people? Whether it’s fair or not, few people will recognize your expertise and value if you don’t introduce yourself to them. Old-fashioned networking is essential to landing most dream jobs. The more people know or hear about you, the more likely they will be to hire you—or point you in the direction of the perfect opportunity.
  4. Can you discipline your thinking and achieve emotional detachment? For most people, one of the biggest barriers to landing their dream job is self doubt. The human subconscious has a negativity bias by default, which leads us to constantly question our plans. Thankfully, practice and mindfulness can transform our thinking and dramatically decrease self doubt.
  5. Are you willing to put happiness above money? According to psychological researchers, earning more than $75,000 per year (adjusted for local COL) doesn’t contribute to the average American’s overall level of emotional well-being. While not every dream job comes with a pay cut, some do; others may require substantial education or relocation costs.

If you’re interested in reading more about landing your dream job, my friend Whitney Johnson has a new book out titled Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream, which is available at bookstores nationwide, as well as on all major online retailers, including AmazonB&N, and Indiebound.

Talkback: Are you working at your dream job, or is it “just a job”? How would you answer the five questions above? Are you willing to do what it takes to start pursuing your dream job?

3 Questions to Ask Before You Jump into a Career Change

Businessman Jumping

For many people a job is more than an income—it’s an important part of who we are. So a career transition of any sort is one of the most unsettling experiences you can face in your life.

~ Paul Clithero ~

Do you feel like your career has reached a dead end? Or is it that you just aren’t motivated to do your job anymore or you find you’re not making best use of your full potential, talents, and skills?

There can be many reasons for a career change and the constant hope of finding your dream job—a job that you have a strong passion for—can actually make the process of a career transition seem all the more daunting. Here are three questions to ask yourself to help you decide if your career change reasons seem valid or if you’re not really ready to jump into a career change right now:

What makes me “me”? Start by evaluating yourself. What do you have to offer? Make a list of what you like to do outside work—your hobbies or interests, talents, special skills that make you stand out, and even your values and beliefs. This will help you discover your areas of interest and serve as your passion guide to help you find the job that best suits you. The better you understand yourself, the more clear your career goals become.

Do I believe I will succeed? If you don’t truly believe you will succeed, then chances are that you won’t. Being passionate and having the motivation for a job change is as important as believing you will find success in your new career. For you to be truly successful you need to have three key things: faith in yourself, influence to get things done, and skills. Your skills, knowledge, and influence can help you get ahead but without conviction in your own abilities you won’t get far.

Am I ready to do what it takes? Understand that the perfect job opportunity is not just going to magically manifest. You need to make a constant effort to research careers that best fit your talents and interests. Start by making a list of top 10 companies you’d like to work for and check to see if they have openings. Use influence to get someone to deliver your resume with a special recommendation to a person of hiring authority. Don’t leave your job until the right opportunity comes by.

The final and most important question to ask when contemplating over all your career change reasons is, “Will I be happier and will my life change for the better if I make this choice?” If you answered yes to this question and all of the above but are still feeling anxious, don’t worry—enlisting the help of a coach who provides effective career transition services can give you the clarity you need to realize your goals and keep you motivated.

Read more tips on how to ensure a successful career transition and discover a career coach who delivers practical tips for career change you can implement right away to inspire you to take action toward your career goals!

Photo by Mishism on Flickr