Do the extra credit: Step 1. You look on a company's website or a job search site and find a job you love. Step 2. You apply directly from that site. Step 3. Avoid step two at all costs. If you apply in this manner your application will get lost in the "black hole" of job applications. You'll be applying against thousands of other job searchers. Instead, do a little extra work for a bigger pay off. Scour the internet and LinkedIn for the hiring manager's name and address. Not only will a real live human be on the other end of that email, but they'll be about to see you have great perseverance and investigative skills.
Barbie's been a fashion designer, scientist, doctor, U.S. President, pilot, and lawyer and now she can add entrepreneur to her running list of professions. In her 55-year history, Barbie has held more than 55 careers. Can we say Renaissance woman?
Mattel will launch Entrepreneur Barbie this summer. The doll comes with a smartphone, tablet computer and will even have her own LinkedIn Profile to help her stay connected to her business colleagues...Skipper and Ken. It's clear that Barbie has taken Sheryl Sandberg's advice and is leaning in to her career a bit more in 2014.
Why did Mattel launch this career over another?
Barbie always looks for a sign of the times to release a new doll as a role model for young girls. They tracked the increase of female-owned businesses, which have far outpaced the growth of men's businesses. One in three businesses is owned by women. According to Entrepreneur.com, 41% of women are the breadwinners for their family.
Yet, the conversation doesn't stop at Barbie's new resume.
Mattel is continuing the conversation by adding an online component that features real-life female entrepreneurs who are champions of their industry. The brand collaborates with "Chief Inspiration Officers" from the founders of Rent the Runway, One Kings Lane, Sugarfina, Girls Who Code, Genuine Insights, Girl Scout Cadette, Plum Ally and the TomKat Studio.
These real-life sources of female entrepreneurial success will offer their personalized career tips and tricks along with blog posts and activities and career-themed games.
"If girls are taught at a young age that entrepreneurship is a plausible and satisfying career path, perhaps that will encourage more female-owned businesses in the future," said Jenny Fliess, Rent The Runway co-founder.
The brand will also include a social media component which includes the hashtag #unapologetic. This is on par with Pantene's recent ad, 'Not sorry.' It's a growing trend that tells women to stop apologizing for their success and place in the workforce.
Mattel is doing their part to change the narrative of the women in the workplace conversation.
Barbie has gone a long way from her California blonde roots. Creating a toy girls can play with and in virtue "practice" future careers is something that can help transforms little girls' mindsets for the rest of their lives.
Spring has officially arrived. While you clean up your home and store your winter attire don't forget to tackle your LinkedIn profile. It's most likely been a while since you updated your profile, added new connections and touched base with your network. Grab a cup of coffee and get started.
Your profile picture is old.
Use a photo that's no more than five years old on your LinkedIn profile. If it's older than that you're misrepresenting yourself and most likely aging yourself. Perms, feathered hair and Jennifer Aniston cuts retired back in the 80's and 90's. Listen up - those do's, clothes and awkward photo backgrounds are making you seem older than you actually are. Embrace your experience and update your profile so it feels fresh, timely and energetic. Remember, the interviewer has to recognize you when you walk through that door. The best photo is a colorful headshot of you in professional attire. Tilt your chin up, pull your shoulders back and smile. LinkedIn professionals who upload a photo are 11 times more likely to have their profile viewed.
List all your experience.
Experience counts – list it all. A LinkedIn profile with more than one job listed is 12 times more likely to be viewed than one with a single job. And it doesn't matter if you've changed industries. One great example is a friend who said, "I used to work in PR when I first started and now I'm in marketing. How could that help?" It turns out that the agency she interviewed with was very impressed with her PR background. She had skills other marketers didn't. She knew how to sell a brand to the media which is a huge asset when promoting a product. Your volunteer work, freelance, and even internships can positively impact your professional profile. Remember to upload projects and presentations to your profile. This feature trulylets your work speak for itself. Your network can comment on or like your work, which can naturally start a conversation about future projects or jobs.
Create Water Cooler Conversation.
At a loss for what to chat about in the break room? Check out LinkedIn Pulse which allows you to customize your home page through subscriptions to channels for trending news coming from your industry. You can also follow inspirational Influencers like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington. Check out what Diane Von Furstenberg has to say about the fashion industry or Workplace Happiness Tips via Gretchen Rubin. Adding these channels will keep the conversation growing and evolving on LinkedIn and at the office.
Make Time to Reconnect.
You've spent time growing your network but when was the last time you reconnected? Don't accept and forget. Your LinkedIn network is as valuable as the relationships you create and sustain. By all means, connect with someone you met at an event or even yoga class. Always give them a reference to remember who you are. You want to take these first-level connections and build them into more robust relationships where you can help them and they can help you. For example, "Hi, I'm Sarah we met at the Engineering Conference in Dayton. We chatted about our businesses and you gave me that great recommendation of a developer." Make a point to message everyone in your network once a year. It's a great way to catch up, keep the conversation going and stay on their minds throughout the year.
Get a Stamp of Approval.
We often trust our friends when they are setting us up on a date, our doctors on what vitamins to take and our local bartender on what new special drink to try. A recommendation always helps set you apart. Ask clients, co-workers and former bosses to pen one for your LinkedIn profile. Ask them to highlight a particular skill, such as event planning or your social media skills. Consider asking for a recommendation while you're in the midst of a project working your tail off. That's when your hard work is top of mind and they're more motivated to do it. That recommendation will live on your LinkedIn profile and act as evidence to your amazing work.
Check on the Competition.
We all know that job hunting can get discouraging. If you're not seeing results it might be time to give your profile a bit of makeover. Have you tried checking out your competition? It doesn't hurt to see how other people in your industry are presenting themselves. On LinkedIn, use the Advanced People Search feature to see "what other people in your industry are listing as skills and specialties." Research the buzzwords in your field and insert them into your profile. Many recruiters use software to sort for these types of words or phrases.
It's all about the Match.
How do you take initiative and actually find the job of your dreams? Take advantage of your own ability for some online reconnaissance. Follow companies that you're interested in, and identify groups that contain your industry's best and brightest. That way, not only do you get a sense of who you want to work for, but by the time you get to the interview stage, you're also able to bring all of your unique talents and experiences to the table and help them to see that not only are they the perfect fit for you, but also that you are the perfect fit.
You have a few months to go before you say Sayonara to school and officially become a working professional. You might have taken Psych 101 but chances are you never took a class on how to get a job or what to do when you scored your dream gig.
What if you're applying for your first job...ever: If you've recently graduated from a Masters, MBA or undergraduate program your first thought will most likely be...I have NOTHING to put on my resume. I have never worked! Except, that isn't exactly true. List your hobbies, clubs, conferences, volunteer experiences and activities you are a part of. Have you ever had a leadership role (class president, yearbook editor, captain of JV Field hockey) list it! You should also include what you learned from your school courses; business, teamwork, computer programs, marketing skills, public speaking, etc. All of these items should be a part of your resume. You'll see how quickly your resume fills up after some analysis.
Conquering a job interview: Be prepared. You would never show up to class without reading an assignment and same goes for a good interview. Come armed with information about the company, your boss, and your role. Sign onto LinkedIn and study the Company Page and the career trajectory of your hiring manager.
Be wary of pushy parents: Your parents will always want the best for you but there is a professional line they should never cross. Under no circumstance should your mom and dad be at the interview with you or apply for you. Think I'm kidding? A parent at my firm did just that. He didn't see anything odd about asking me to hire his daughter to be an intern and tell me how great she would be, how he'd be involved and how much he'd be "checking in."
Your parents would never take a test for you or sit in your Spanish class...I hope... same rules apply for the office. You should ask your parents to reach out to their network of co-workers, clients, and friends to see if someone might know of a job opening up. After that, YOU need to be the first point of contact -- not your mom. You could also ask your parents to review your resume or help you with a mock interview. After that, though, you are on your own.
When the new boss is always M.I.A.: If you only have a ask your questions the first few minutes of the day. Let them know you are interested in the business and want to be the best employee for them. Have an idea? Let them know that moving the straws next to the soda cups creates efficiency.
When the office is cliquey: High school cliques annoyingly also exist off campus. Often times these mean girls will at first see you as a threat. Be as friendly as you can to them and try to learn. Make them feel like they are the BMOC. However, if they are still icy – do your best to ignore them. Don't let it get to you and focus on the job at hand.
Ready for a promotion? Before you ask, make sure you deserve it. Here's a list of 4 questions you need to ask yourself:
- Are you helping the company's bottom line?
- Are you punctual and working overtime if you have last-minute client requests?
- Have you been there longer than six months?
- Have you felt that you've made your boss' life easier and are taking on more responsibilities?
If so -- go in for the ask. If not, be the best employee you can be and ask for a promotion 30 days down the line. If you are asking, make sure you come prepared with reasons why you have earned this. Have sales increased since you started? Are you able to get through your work much faster than other employers? Have you created a business website or helped with the social media strategy? Are you volunteering for projects outside your typical responsibilities?
Making a grand & graceful exit: Your employer knows that you won't be at their firm forever. Set up a meeting to chat privately. Start off the conversation by letting them know how amazing it has been to work there (even if it wasn't) and how much you have learned from them as a boss. Then let them know you'll be leaving and will give 2 weeks' notice so they have time to find someone to replace you.
Always end on good terms with a boss – you never know if you'll want the job again down the line or which business owners your boss is friends with in town. You'll also want to count on them for a reference.
What is the best way to help your recently unemployed friend? The number-one thing you can do is listen and be there for them...but don't go overboard. As friends, we have a tendency to go big, but a job search is a highly stressful situation--something the job seeker needs to be ready for.
Talk to them. Ask them if they'd like help. Would they want you to act as a career coach? Someone who helps them stay accountable and also sends job listings? Some people have done their homework and know what they want, and that might not be at the end of a job listing. Other people are more open to it, so ask before you go ahead. Don't make empty promises. If you offer to set them up for an informational interview or connect them to someone in their industry, follow up on it.
Practice makes perfect. Offer to look at their resume, and if they are open to it, edit it. You can also help them with mock interviews and by offering feedback for their elevator pitches. Recommend them to sites like the Muse, LinkedIn, and Wakefield. Another thing a great friend could do to go above and beyond is to use a smartphone to record a mock interview. It's helpful to see yourself in action. Do you have a nervous habit of tapping your shoe or tugging your sleeve? Do you speak too fast or use a lot of expressions like "like," "um," or "at the end of the day"?
Use motivating words. Keep their energy level up. Many people tend to get depressed, discouraged and desperate during a long job search. It wears you down not getting called in for an interview or not getting called back for a job. That's a ton of daily rejection. Remind them how much of an all-star they really are. Advise them to try and freelance or put their skills in motion by volunteering. Remind them that their situation could and does happen to everyone and that it's a matter of circumstance--not reflective of their talent.
Check in. Every friend and friendship are different. If you are very close, ask--but drop it if your friend isn't too chatty on the subject. Change gears and talk about other matters. Don't let your hangouts turn into marathon job-searching sessions. Your friend most likely wants a break from thinking about their dead-end job or unemployed status. Your friendly conversations act as an escape.
Squash tension and negativity. Is your relationship as friends suffering while your friend looks for work? Talk about the friendship, not about the job search. Chances are that it's the job search tension that is subconsciously causing the negativity. I once recommended an unemployed friend to interview at another friend's firm. She was so unprepared and unprofessional in her email introduction and the interview itself that it ended up souring the friendship.
Are they simply venting? Do you have a friend who might be stuck in a dead-end job? Do they truly want to make a change? We have all vented about our jobs to a friend from time to time. The commute, the nosy coworker, the mountains of Excel work, endless business trips...but do they really want a new job, or do they just need to de-stress? Before offering to look at their resume or set them up with job leads, actually ask them what their next move might be.
You scour through resume after resume when you finally land a gem within the pile of candidates. It hits every point of your job description even the 10 skills you listed. It almost sounds too good to be true...is it? Last week ABC News' 20/20 set up a segment to expose just that. The business behind fake resumes.
ABC interviewed the founder of fake resume resource site CareerExcuse.com, William Schmidt. He'll create fake positions but also take it a step further by creating fake degrees, companies (including phone numbers, addresses even websites). Schmidt says he has rarely been caught because few companies thoroughly check resumes and job references.
Schmidt thinks he is doing a public service by helping those job seekers who lost their jobs during the recession. He doesn't think he's selling a lie. He compares his business to that of a poker player's bluff...all about the illusion. He claims that half of the people who use his service are employed within 30 days.
But what's an employer to do if they think they found a great applicant but something isn't adding up? Marissa Klein, SVP of Choice Fashion & Media, weighs in with her expert advice.
Eyeing a Phony Applicant: How hard is it to find false information buried within a document that might have legitimate experience as well. Klein, says, "We specialize in an area that is very close knit. It is quite easy to catch a discrepancy due to our relationships and our own experience within the niche world of fashion and media. However, I have certainly discovered incorrect dates and falsified job description bullet points. Especially since the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009."
Catch a Fake: You've spotted a potential fake. What's the next step? Do you speak with the client, try and take another route or toss their resume in the trash? Klein, "We normally will outright challenge the candidate. Our "fakes" tend to be in the details – such as resumes not matching LinkedIn profiles. I tend to try to give people the benefit of the doubt. After the economy took a turn, many were forced to enhance or exaggerate their skill set in order to remain competitive, or valuable."
Go With Your Gut: What are a firm's options if think they found the perfect applicant but something within their work history isn't adding up. Klein says, "Certain things will always slip through the cracks. My advice to my clients is always the same. We can do all of the leg work to check, and double and triple check... but gut instinct, whether professional or personal, is usually infallible. If something doesn't feel right, it likely is not."
The Safety Net: How important is a background check? Klein says, "We do qualify candidates and I would say that most employers do too. However, specific background checks are costly (criminal, credit, etc) and we can provide these to our clients at a pass through cost. Most of our clients run these types of checks after an offer has been extended and accepted. Background checks in general fall into a truly gray area... traditionally, companies are not really supposed to disclose true editorial on a candidate, merely confirm a date started and a date ended. Ironically, as the liaison we are sometimes caught in the middle and must find a balance between what the client would like for us to "check" and what is legally permitted. Perhaps that is a whole other conversation!"
When it comes to applying for a job, your cover letter is the gateway in terms of getting a hiring manager intrigued enough to click on your resumé. However, that gateway is often filled with a ton of roadblocks — caused by you. Here are six ways to make sure your cover letter gets the attention it deserves:
1. Get the Name Right
You know how much you hate it when Starbucks baristas misspell your name? Not surprisingly, the people reading your cover letters hate it when you get their names wrong, too.
Take the time to make sure that the HR contact's name is spelled McCarthy — not MacCarthy. Is it Mr. Alex Meyer or Ms. Alex Meyer? (If you don't know, find out.) Type the person's name into LinkedIn and make sure to get it right. I've been called Mr. Jacinto or addressed as simply “Dear Jacinto” more times than I care to remember.
Also, if it's a email@example.com email address, go the extra step to determine who the actual hiring manager is and address the cover letter to him or her. Never write “To whom it may concern.” It concerns Mary Adler, Hiring Manager at Accosta Accounting. She'll appreciate the research.
2. Keep It Personal
Stop copy-and-pasting your form cover letter. Hiring managers see right through this lazy attempt at career searching. Your defense that the companies are all alike? Well, that might be the case, but your job as an applicant is to highlight why each and every company you apply to is “the one.” That means making the cover letter as personalized as possible.
3. Research Who You're Emailing
Study the person's career and mention it in the cover letter, if applicable. For instance, “I read your recent article… admire your career… loved the product launch you worked on…” Everyone likes hearing a little bit of praise. Whatever you do, avoid this major mistake made by a candidate who had no idea what I did for a living.
4. Connect the Dots
Your cover letter is the key to getting into the front door of an employer. This is your opportunity to tell your story and help HR understand your career. Do you want to make the move from PR professional to journalist? This is the place to explain that. No need to rehash your resumé. Instead, focus on a strategic career story that will align you with the job in question.
5. Fight the Urge to Ramble
It starts out as an extra sentence or two, but when you're done, you've created a short story instead of a cover letter. Save some mystery for the interview. The person reading your cover letter is busy — and chances are, so are you. Don't waste anyone's time with a rambling cover letter.
6. Keep It Short
Three paragraphs is a good length. I've seen cover letters that are a bit longer and a tad shorter, but it all comes back to the quality of the words. No need to start off with, “My name is ______.” Chances are they'll be able to tell that from your email address and signature. And if you aren't a recent graduate, there's no need to highlight the school you attended, either.
Are you an expertly organizational, innovative driven Professional? Do you just so happen to be strategic, innovative and possess creatively effective and patient qualities? Join the team. If your LinkedIn profile includes those words you aren’t alone. LinkedIn recently pulled data from over 259 million profiles and filled us in which words made their annual Buzzword list. Rounding out the Top 10 include;Responsible, Strategic, Creative, Effective, Patient, Expert, Organizational, Driven, Innovative and Analytical.
How can you stand out from the sea of driven, innovative, patient professionals?
Show and Tell
The trick to beating the buzzword game is to actually convey what makes you buzzworthy. We’re all “responsible” but what have you done that really sets you apart? Did you work after hours to ensure an event would be produced expertly? Or schedule a last minute meeting to solidify a potentially lost business deal saving your revenue?
Buzz-wordy Before Resume
-Analytically research marketing trends
-Strategically measure website traffic
-Creatively collaborate on advertising techniques
-Effectively problem solve during high-pressure situations
-Patiently work with high profile clients
-Expertly exhibit innovative knowledge about the marketing industry
-Organize internal data and share with team at bi-weekly meetings
-Research trends in a highly driven manner
Buzz-worthy After Resume
Analytically: Ability to study trending topics enhanced company to be part of the national conversation. Ex. Was able to have our CEO weigh in on the Amazon Drone program via a quote in the Wall Street Journal which garnered 15K page views
Strategically: Improve website performance by increasing traffic 10% in the last quarter
Creative: Enhance companies profile and profit with consumer marketing events. I.E. Created a pop-up shop in Grand Central Station that attracted over 1500 signups and generated 18K in gross revenue
Patient: Expertly exhibit calming attitude to problem solve in demanding situations. I.E Producing an event for 500 people a week’s timeframe
Expert: Featured panelist and keynote for marketing industry events like Marketers of NYC, Summit 2013, NYU Marketers of the Future
Innovative/Driven: Propelled companies insight by creating webinar series given by Executive Board
What are you waiting for…ramp up your Profile today!