Monday, February 16, 2015

Social Media & Your Job Search: 3 Reasons You Need It—Now!

Author:  Ed Han
              Wordsmith, Recruiter, LinkedIn Advocate, JobSeeker Ally
              Translating business objectives into strategies & tactics

I've been a fan of social media in one form or another since October 27, 2007. That was when I first joined LinkedIn and it took me until April 2009 to join Twitter. It took almost a year after that to join Facebook—after I joined Google+, in fact.

We talk about social media at every meeting but I know I’ve seen more than a few blank stares when it’s discussed. So I know that for a lot of people who are reading this, social media consists of Facebook updates. Stop thinking that way, because social media is a whole lot more than merely FB.

Here are 3 reasons why you should be using social media right now as part of your job search.

It’s just networking

I don’t know why, but sometimes people get this slightly apprehensive, glazed-over look when the subjects of networking or social media crop up. So let’s simplify things.

Networking is about being a decent human being and having a conversation. You've basically been doing this all of your life: talking with people. Now, some people are shy—but take a look at our LinkedIn group for conversations starters—and closers.

Let me demystify “social media” for you.

It’s just people having conversations online. The absolute worst thing that happens when you talk with someone on social media is something you can ignore. It’s even safer than talking to someone in real life.

So if you’re one of those folks who have a hang up about this: stop. It’s like dancing in a club: nobody’s looking at you.

And networking is how people get hired

As a recruiter, I can tell you with 100% certainty that every single employer on the planet prefers to talk with candidates that are referrals. It’s really simple: they've been vetted. When you refer someone as a candidate, you’re putting your professional reputation on the line with that candidate.

In fact, that’s how I got my last position. I’d gotten to know someone via Twitter. Back in November 2012, I received a call from her asking if I knew anyone interested in a recruiting role. She briefly described it and I told her I was really interested. A few weeks later, I started. Ever since the first day I knew it was the position I wished I had been doing from the start, and am still slightly resentful that I found it this late in life.

So be a referral

The odds are stacked against job seekers. On average, there are 250 candidates for every position out there. Of those, 25% are considered by the hiring party qualified. Rounding down, there are on average 62 qualified candidates who are phone screened. For face to face interviews you aren't talking more than a half dozen prospects, tops. So there’s a 90% failure rate from the phone screen. And do you know who can often pass a phone screen more often than not? A candidate referred by an employee can, that’s who.

Social media sites work best when more people are more connected. That’s why every social media site you care about makes it as easy as possible to make connections with other users. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest—all of them. This becomes particularly useful when you are targeting specific employers: then, LinkedIn & Facebook become a list of people with whom you might want to connect.

Now, remember that people generally only connect with people when they see a clear upside. So give them one. Connect with people on LinkedIn when you have a former employer, school or group in common: the reason there is obvious.

In closing

If you have any questions, ask!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Unemployment: It’s like being in the army

Author:  Barbara Perone
              Writer | Editor | Reporter | Technical Writer | Proofreader

These days, being unemployed is a lot like being in the United States Army – nobody really wants to be there and everybody involved can’t wait until it’s all over so they can return to a normal life.
Nowadays, once you join the military you can be called into active-duty any time. Same thing with getting laid off from your job – it can happen at any point during your career, sometimes without warning.
Just like an exhausted solider who is redeployed year-after-year, with all the constant layoffs in this country it’s a given that the equally tired worker will wind up reapplying for unemployment benefits over-and-over and will be considered lucky if he can collect for more than a year.
Soldiers go to boot camp to learn the necessary skills they need to battle the enemy. Today, many unemployed white-collar workers “battle” a depressed job market by learning new skills and joining a professional service group or job club.
Like the civilian recruits, most job seeking “newbies” get thrown into an unfamiliar situation with a bunch of strangers. But, the “recruit” learns quickly that it’s essential to pitch in to help her “unit” so that everyone can “survive the war.”
When one member of a job group is successful, and actually finds work, the rest are truly happy for that person; that he or she is leaving the group, ready to move on to better things. Still, like an Army buddy who returns home just ahead of them, the remaining “soldiers” can’t help feeling a little envious because they’re still stuck “fighting” in the same lousy “war” and there is no way of knowing when they will ever be “discharged.”
Just like in a real war, there are also real casualties of unemployment; the people who die because they can no longer afford medical insurance. We’ve all lost a few “soldiers” in our “war” and it’s never easy to see talented people come to such an end. Each time it happens you think that it’s wrong, that it shouldn’t have happened that way. Unfortunately, it does happen and it seems to be happening all too often.
Sad times like these, added to the inability to change one’s circumstances no matter how hard one tries, are the very thing that can cause soldiers and job seekers alike to become clinically depressed.
Yet, they can’t allow themselves to wallow in despair for any length of time because they’ve got a job to do. Whether it’s protecting the homeland or reaching their goal of finding suitable employment so they can provide for themselves and their family.
Along with the sad times, though, there are happy times. The laughs we share during picnics, holiday parties, and networking events where we eat a little food, have a few beverages, and swap our “war” stories with one another; just like real soldiers when they have a chance to get a little R & R.
Finally, the main thing soldiers and job seekers seem to have in common is that they have no way of knowing when “the war” will finally be over.
Let’s hope, for all of our sakes, that our “war” will be over sooner rather than later.