Saturday, March 13, 2010

How to use LinkedIn to Find a Job – for the recently un-employed

  1. Get the word out. Tell your network that you’re looking for a new position.
  2. Get recommendations. A strong recommendation from your manager highlights your strengths.
  3. Find out where people with your skills are working. Do an advanced search for people in your area who have your skills.
  4. Find out where people at a company came from. LinkedIn “Company Profiles” show the likely career path of employees.
  5. Find out where people from a company go next. LinkedIn’s “Company Profiles” also tell you where people go after leaving.
  6. Check if a company is still hiring. Company pages on LinkedIn include a section that lists people who were recently hired.
  7. Get to the hiring manager. When you view a LinkedIn job, focus on the ones you’re no more than two degrees away from.
  8. Get to the right HR person. Find someone inside the company to walk your resume to the hiring manager or HR department.
  9. Know the secret job requirements. Find a connection at the company with the inside scoop on what really matters for the job.
  10. Find startups to join. Play with LinkedIn’s advanced search using “startup” or “stealth” in the keyword or company field.
  11. Build your network before you need it. A strong network is a good form of job security. Don’t wait until times are tough.

My own advice is


  1. Review your LinkedIn profile and make sure you can use it as your Resume.  Massage it every day for a week.  Ask your spouse and several close contacts to review it and provide feedback.  Tell them to be brutal!
  2. Include a photo (head shot) on your profile and dress for it in a business-like fashion.
  3. Make sure your listed specialties are fresh by “archiving” some of the less current items.  Wrack your brain for that obscure skill and list it; this may be the thing that a Recruiter searches on.
  4. Use the spare time to chase-up old colleagues and ask for a recommendation for past positions.  By all means bribe them with a beer but make sure it’s accurate, employers WILL check.
  5. Participate in the Q&A forums in your areas of expertise.  Both answer & ask questions.
  6. Change the “by-line” on your profile to “currently seeking next position” or something similar.  People will see this against your name in the forums.  In my profile I mention that I donate blood plasma every two weeks (but I’m not currently seeking a job).
  7. Join and be active in all the relevant groups for your specialties (you can join up to 50).  Read the discussions; comment; follow up with the people who asked the question.  If you have some time do the research necessary to knock their socks off.
  8. Use the “Download as a PDF” function while viewing you own profile.  This will give you a document that a Recruitment Consultant can use in their own internal database.  Some Recruiters will want a .doc file, have both available.  I recommend to save a .doc file as a PDF.
  9. Build relationships with the recruiters in your region.  The Advanced Search Tool will allow you to focus in on a geographic area.  Work those contacts.  As unpleasant as it might seem, if your contingency plan is to move interstate and live in your in-law’s basement (ouch), start to build your network in that location too.
  10. Reach out to your contacts, both LinkedIn and not.  Ask for permission to contact them again in 5 or 6 weeks.  They will not often say no, and will be more receptive to a call a month down the track.  Keeping your situation fresh in their mind will increase the likelihood of a spontaneous referral.  Make sure they have your resume (as a .doc & a PDF) as attachments on an email from you in their in-box.
  11. Carry hard-copies of your resume with you at all times.  Also carry it with you on a memory stick.  Horror stories abound about what potential employers have seen on a prospective employee’s memory stick so make sure the resume (again as a .doc & a PDF) is the only thing on it.  Attach the stick to your car-keys; it’s not going to do you much good if you leave it at home.
  12. Work on your blog and make sure the posts are upbeat and career related.  If you don’t have a blog, start it now with one of the free services (this blog is hosted at  I publish under my own domain name for $10 a year, but if I didn’t, the blog hosting would be free).
  13. Link your blog to your LinkedIn profile using the WordPress “application” within LinkedIn (check out my profile to see how it looks).
  14. Review your myspace/facebook pages and remove any links to these pages from your LinkedIn profile if the content is not business appropriate.  For some time now we’ve heard anecdotal stories about people not getting the job because of embarrassing photos on other social networks.
  15. Organize as many interviews as possible with Recruitment Agents.  And the most important thing here is; ask them what they would change about your resume; change it overnight; get it back to them.  It doesn’t matter if you end up with 20 versions, they will see that you are prepared to help them get you a job.  Use Twitter to tell your network when you’re going for an interview.
  16. Find other face-to-face networks to leverage.  I’m not very good at this but I try.  Look at the LinkedIn events in your area and also try
Good Luck. And please provide feedback on this blog post (make a comment below).  I’ll use your suggestions to improve this page so it is more useful to others.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to Write a proper resume and cover letter

The first step in writing a proper resume is the cover letter. Write each cover letter specifically for the company and/or position you are seeking. Next, write your name, The address where you can be reached, Phone number, Fax number (if applicable), and E-mail address. Skip a line and write the full date (month, day, year). Name of the specific person, title of that person (if available), and the Address of the company.
Here is an example of what it should look like: Robert Smith 5560 Park drive New york, New york 22230 (810)-555-5555 email May 2, 2008 Ken Williams, Human Resource Director Northern Electric, Inc. 3525 Long Lane Atlanta, Georgia 30052 ..Now comes your resume.

A resume is not about what you want; It's about what you offer an employer." The resume will determine who gets a job interview. Your resume is a mini-statement about yourself. First, start with Your "summary of skills", this should highlight experiences and qualifications that the employer is seeking. Focus on work experience, and list professional experience in order from most to least recent. Your computer skills will be particularly attractive and should be highlighted. Also, consider your volunteer and extracurricular experience.
Use strong action verbs and leave out the word "I". Your resume should be one page only. Don't misrepresent your past -- it will come back to haunt you.

There is a difference between making the most of your experience and exaggerating or falsifying it. Emphasize your talents and show how you used them at the job. Don't mention personal characteristics such as age, height, and marital status on your resume. Avoid unusual or exotic font styles; use simple fonts with a professional look. Check your resume for proper grammar and correct spelling. Finally, Close with a strong reminder of why you are a good match for the job positioin and the organization. Thank them! Sign your name and print it underneath.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Internships: The Preparation

There seems to be a common sentiment going around college campuses concerning interning as part of the college experience: Who has the time? Certainly no one wishes to extend their college years beyond the expensive years already spent on a campus. And at the same time those students are either cramming more classes in the summer or reluctant to give up the precious time off. Why work for practically no pay (and often for free)?

Unfortunately students tend to forget the benefits of taking the time to intern. This is a crucial experience that gives you insight into the possibilities within your major. Internships can also help you narrow down your job preferences and determine the best career path for you. While you work you gain a hands on opportunity to practice what you have learned in the classroom and learn the settle techniques professionals in your field use. If you travel away, even to the next state, for your internship there is the invaluable challenge of learning to move and adjust quickly to a new area and circumstances, making future moves to new jobs less daunting. And on top of it all if you are successful you will walk away with great resume references, letters of recommendation, and sometimes even future job offers.

But what about the difficulties of finding an internship? With the internet this step has become so quick and easy it no longer works as an excuse for putting interning off. Going to such websites as have lists of available internships to check out. Websites that provide job listings will often also list internships from companies. Just type internship into the search engine and see just how many companies list internships there. Check with the professors within your major. They have been watching students do internships for many years and will likely be able to give you advice of where past students have had success. Older students or alumni from your college are also useful in your search. Go to Career Services on campus and ask them to help; after all, you are paying for their services in tuition costs.

The next step most students groan over is applying. Most internships require paperwork, a well written resume, letters of recommendation, and an interview of some type. That is a lot of work. Luckily it is a lot easier in practice. Resume writing is an art, but anyone can put one together. Go back to the internet and seek some advice online. Your best bet is to seek out others in your field and ask their advice on laying out your resume. For a template, Microsoft Works and Office have them available. Usually it is good to include three references. These can be professors in your department that have worked with you. Be sure to ask before including anyone as a reference. And do not forget to put your expected graduate degree and date under the heading "Education".

Letters of recommendation should not be too challenging, but there is a lot of courtesy involved. Mentors or professors that have been particularly involved in your college years or your adviser are good places to start asking. Be sure to ask well in advance of when you need the letter. At the very least provide two weeks for the your recommendation to write the letter. When you ask it is advisable for you to have any information you need included in the letter. This information is often provided in the requirements listed for the internship you are applying for and should be provided to the individual you ask. Other information you need to provide is how they are to submit the letter. Sometimes you are to include it in your application and other times it is to be sent directly to the company by mail, fax, or e-mail.

When you fill out your application double and triple check every field before you fill in the blanks. Be sure to write neatly and in black or dark blue pen. Carefully read the instructions included at the top of the application and follow them exactly. And most importantly send it in before the deadline. Good internships are hard to come by and the biggest mistake could be waiting too long to send everything in. Think of the given deadline not as the "send in by" deadline, but the day the company will make their decision. The sooner and longer your application is in their hands the more likely they are to think of you for the position.

About a week after you have sent in your application I would advise calling the internship coordinators to confirm your information has been received. This call is also the ideal time to set up an interview if one is required so have your schedule sitting in front of you in case the coordinator asks when is best for you. Do not worry if the internship is far away because most companies are willing to do interviews over the phone.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Get that job by writing a winning resume

Your resume serves as your window to the world. How a potential employer views you can directly depend on the fashion of your resume. This how to article will give you a glimpse into writing a winning resume that will hopefully land you a great job! I am a college graduate working in public affairs.


Difficulty: Easy Things You’ll Need:
  • Resume Paper (Can be bought at Wal-Mart) This paper is usually thicker than normal paper. Card Stock can be a great substitute or any other decorative paper that is not too busy.
Step1 Resume Paper
Before beginning your resume collect all the needed materials. I recommend getting a good resume paper that can be bought cheaply at Wal-Mart. If you don't' have the money use card-stock or any other decorative paper that is thicker than normal paper. Special paper will make your resume stand out especially when you are in a career fair setting where many recruiters do not take the time to review your resume.

Your Personal Information Section After obtaining the correct paper it is time to get started on the meat and potatoes of your resume. Remember your resume should be a firm one pager unless your applying for a really big time job, such as University president. That particular job might require an entire vita, but for the standard job one page will suffice. First sit down and collect all pertinent data for your resume before you write it. This information includes your name (no nicknames) address, phone number, alternate phone number (if you have one). This information is in block style at the beginning of your resume.

Your next section will be your objective section. Your objective simply states your intentions. Here is an example objective "To obtain a job and become an effective member of the workforce, as well as gain knowledge and strategies for future job opportunities". If this is a highly professional job that you don't intend to leave remove the last part where you say gain knowledge and strategies for future job opportunities. That line usually is for younger job seekers.

Qualifications Section Your next section is qualifications. This section is optional but when I do use it I place it after objectives. This is where you will state what qualifies you for such a position. Do not state specifics because that will be found in the later portion of your resume. An example is "Past employment opportunities have enabled me to learn how to work successfully within a team-oriented organization....blah blah blah"

Your next section will either be employment or education. If you do not have extensive work experience but you do have a lot of education I recommend putting your education first and vice versa. Here you will start with your most recent experience and go backwards. Always put the name of the job, your position, city and date that you worked there and vice versa for education. Go back as far as you deem relevant to the current job.

If you are not near your one page limit I recommend adding a skills section after the education and employment section. In this section you can list a few bullets about special skills that will help you on the job. For example Types 55 wpm, Proficient in Microsoft Word...etc.

Last but not least is your references section. Some people choose to list their references, however I usually put available upon request. If the employer is interested in you they will ask for those references. Plus putting available upon request helps to keep your resume one page long. When going to career fairs, recruiters like one pagers. They are easy to look at and easier to read.

                                 Tips & Warnings


  • Spell Check. We all miss spell words even after we have read through it a million times. Give your resume to someone else who hasn't seen your resume a million times and have them spell check it. Your computer misses words and so do we.
  • If you need help just ask me. If I have time I would be more than happy to help you fashion your resume. There are many different styles that you can use. Please see the picture at the beginning to get an idea of what your resume should look like.
  • Do not use paper that has a lot of designs in the background. You do not want it to distract from your resume. You want the recruiter/employer to read it not just look at it.
  • Don't put too much in your resume.
  • Never ever lie in your resume.
  • Make sure that your email address is simply your name. Do not have as that is highly unprofessional.
  • If you are using your cell phone as your number please be sure to record a professional answering message. Employers don't want to hear soldier boy tell 'em on your ringtone or on your answering machine. Doing this is a good way to never get a job.
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