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Well another year has come to a close; and yep it’s time to settle into more of a regular routine. For those employed it means back to work, for those in career transition it means back to the search for a new opportunity. Here are ten tips to help jumpstart the job search:

1. Start with a clean slate – if you have your sights set on certain companies who were not responsive last year try again this year. Requirements change and for a number of companies it is a new budget year. Don’t be shy.
2. Network, Network, Network. It is the most effective way to jumpstart a job search. Reach out to old co-worker, managers or supervisors. If you belong to groups or associations let the members know who you are and what you are all about. If you do not belong to a group or association consider joining one. Networking is the best way to become and stay visible.
3. Another way to become and stay visible is to volunteer. Think of activities you enjoy and volunteer. What better way to help motivate others and yourself?
4. If you have a profile on Linkedin be sure it depicts your key competencies and strengths. Recruiters use Linkedin on a daily basis as a search engine to find qualified candidates. Make sure they can find you by using the appropriate business and technical key words in your profile.
5. If you are in career transition and do not have a profile on Linkedin consider setting one up immediately for the reasons outlined above.
6. Review your resume with fresh eyes. Does it contain a Profile/Summary, list of business competencies and technical skills at eye level? Does the Profile/Summary do a good job of introducing who you are, your successes and strengths? Does it do a good job of capturing the reader’s interest? Is there just enough to entice the reader for more?
7. Remember a Profile/Summary is never written in first person i.e. “I am an experienced Human Resources Professional”. “I possess 10 years of IT experience within the telecommunication industry”. It is your resume so “I” is implied.
8. They say it takes about a month of consist effort to develop a new behaviour. So for that month don’t take “No” for an answer. Stays focused and remember to take one day at a time.
9. Practice the P.U.S.H. philosophy “Push Until Something Happens”. Remember most rejections are not personal so remain determined. After all, Colonel Sanders was 65 years old when he decided to sell his chicken recipe. He was confident restaurants would be lining up for his special recipe. However, Colonel Sanders was turned down 1,009 times before getting his first “yes” – it took determination and the ability to push until he made something happen.
10. Most of all – build fun activities and laughter into each day. Take time to exhale – control the search don’t let it control you.

OK I know what you’re saying – there is nothing new here Lee – same stuff just a different year and of course you’d be right – the ten tips are more of a refresher. However the key is how to incorporate these tips into a successful job search strategy. Because searching for a job takes time, commitment, focus and perseverance. There are no shortcuts; and unfortunately 95% of companies continue to use the same old sourcing and selection processes – posting jobs, internet searches, reviewing resumes and conducting interviews.

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources and Master Trainer in behavioural interviewing. She is an expert in Selection, Recruitment and Career Transition Management.

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Just read this artice on Linkedin and I absolutely agree with Dr. Travis Bradberry. So much so that I am sharing on my blog. It is definielty worth a read.

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140922000612-50578967-why-successful-people-never-bring-smartphones-into-meetings

Lee Koren is certifed as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviews.

Let’s talk about the job search function. Most will agree it is time consuming, depressing at times, humbling and lots of hard work. Yet the individuals who are successful will agree they put in place a job search strategy and worked that strategy every day. No, not all day, but for at least 3-4 hours a day. They stayed focused and committed; and yes, even though tempted to send their resume out to dozens of postings where no fit exists, controlled the urge and stayed true to their specific job search. Think about it, without a job search strategy the hunt becomes scattered and very unproductive. It’s like saving for the future without a financial strategy – good intentions but just doesn’t happen. Sitting in front of a computer and sending out resumes to jobs that do not match one’s expertise, competencies or skills is a big waste of time. I’ve spoken to hundreds of people in career transition over the past year who wonder why they are not getting any response from a resume blast. The majority of these individuals do not have a job search strategy, are not committed and definitely not focused.

Below are 10 action items which should be included in a job search strategy:
1. Prepare a solid resume which depicts strengths, core competencies, learnings and achievements.
2. Conduct an in-depth search on Indeed.ca to compare skills, job titles and roles – get creative with keyword searches.
3. Create a list of targeted companies – use google and Linkedin to research the companies and its people.
4. Attend interviewing techniques, job search strategies and networking workshops to refresh and progress.
5. Complete a behavioural assessment to help identify strengths and areas for developments – promotes awareness and allows individual strengths to be highlighted in the interview or even displayed on the resume.
6. Set up mock interviews before attending the real thing.
7. Network with family, friends, associations, schools, colleges and church parishioners.
8. Put a professional profile on Linkedin (if searching for a corporate role). Use all the tools offered by Linkedin to help stay visible and available to recruiters, HR and the Hiring Manager.
9. Take time off to have fun, relax and spend time with loved ones.
10. Continue to Push Until Something Happens.

Of course everyone is different so the job search strategy will be tailored to the individual’s strengths and competencies. It should be workable, measurable and based on individual special needs and specific requirements. In other words asking someone who is looking for a general labour job to create a profile on Linkedin is not workable.
Let’s face it, searching for a job is a job in itself. However, just like in any job the strong individual performer always comes out on top.

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources and certified as a Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing. She is passionate about recruitment, selection and career transition.

I shared this Q& A over a year ago, I have since made some updates – enjoy!

Q: With the job market so competitive, getting beyond the resume to an interview is difficult. Resumes are screened by recruiters or systems – any advice on how to get noticed?

A: The purpose of the resume is not to get you a job – it is to get you an interview. Therefore, the resume must optimize your key strengths and competencies and highlight them in a way which “catches the eye” of the recruiter or whoever might be reading the resume. Therefore, it is important to insure your key strengths and competencies are identified and strategically placed on the resume using “keywords”. This will improve the odds of your resume being noticed during the screening process. Also make sure your email is hyperlinked – the easier you make it for the recruiter to contact you the better.

Q: Do cover letters really get read?

A: Depends on the person – I have been a recruiter for 20+ years – if the cover letter is in the body of the email I will read it. If it is attached to the email along with the resume I will open the resume first. If it is incorporated into the resume document well I might scan it quickly. The shorter the cover letter the better, recruiters are just not going to read a 2 page cover letter. Three short paragraphs – First Paragraph contains your interest in the job. Second Paragraph makes the link between the key skills required for the job and your strengths. Third Paragraph is the close.

Q: I do not have a problem getting the interview; in fact I get good feedback on my interview skills. I usually get invited back for a second interview; however I just can’t seem to get beyond this point. Do you have any words of wisdom?

A: Oh to have a magic wand when it comes to the interview! There are so many things riding on a successful interview, some of them are out of your control. I coach my clients to be as prepared as possible. Find out all you can about the company on the internet, its website and Linkedin. If you know any employees ask for a few minutes of their time to chat about the company. Spend time going over the skills required for the job and identifying your accomplishments which demonstrate these skills. Be prepared with specific examples which link your skills to the skills required for the job. If the interviewer does not perform a behavioural interview work some of your good examples into the conversation.

Q: Does it matter if my resume is a Word document or PDF when applying on-line?

A; Many companies are purchasing Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These systems may or may not be integrated with the rest of their business systems. If not integrated, then the system may or may not open a PDF.doc so to be safe I suggest using a Word doc Why? Because if the recruiter cannot open your resume he or she will most likely move on to the next resume on the list.

Q: You talk about a “system friendly resume” what does this mean?

A: Again, it goes back to a company’s technical infrastructure; and if there is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), whether or not it is fully integrated. If you up-load your resume online and it happens to contain fancy formatting, graphics and tables there is a possibility the text will be distorted when the document is opened at the other end. To be on the safe side, keep the formatting simple; avoid graphics, table and fancy bullets.

Q: I am in career transition and have been told to put a profile on Linkedin. As a recruiter do you use Linkedin to locate talent?

A: Absolutely, Linkedin is the best social networking tool out there and is very popular with corporate and agency recruiters when it comes to locating qualified talent. Again, remember “keywords” are critical – use them in your Summary and list them in the Specialties section. Don’t forget to monitor the Jobs section and take full advantage of all the other nifty job search functions.

Q: I have a few companies I am targeting and would like your option on asking executives at these companies for an informational meeting – what has been your experience with this type of approach – does it work?

A: It depends on how and who you ask. I know of a PhD grad that targeted a pharmaceutical company she was very interested in. She sent an email to one of the executives asking if he would mind taking time from his busy schedule to meet with her for the purpose of learning more about the company. He agreed and when they met he asked for a copy of her resume and suggested she send her resume to Human Resources. She sent the resume and sent him a thank you note (letting him know she sent the resume) and the next thing she knew she was being invited in for an interview and yes, received a job offer.

Remember to take one day at a time as one never knows what tomorrow may bring!

Lee Koren. PHR
lkoren@selectionstrategy.com

Over the last 2 years I have worked on assignments to find high calibre management talent within the food manufacturing industry.  I’ve gained a totally new respect for this industry and came to realize that there is a shortage of good talent at the management level; it takes a lot of creative sourcing to uncover this talent.  Subsequently, when it comes to talent acquisition it should be no surprise to learn that my sourcing toolbox is full of social media/networking sites.  I have a very large social network and maintain a presence on the internet via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   By utilizing key posting sites and performing creative Boolean searches the days of the old “cold call” are long gone – the only calls I make are very “warm calls” – those individuals who have already responded to my tweet, Linkedin message or email.    Yes it is true; if utilized properly the internet will make a recruiter more productive and visible.

Now Social Media recruitment is not new, at least to me.  Yet, I am surprised at how many placement firms and corporations are not taking total advantage of this valuable method to source talent.    If a company is willing to collaborate to identify the key competencies required for the role, and the recruiter is experienced enough to put together a structured behavioural interview process and a comprehensive sourcing strategy, 9 times out of 10 there is bound to be a successful result.  On the other hand, it is not a secret that unclear expectations lead to a dysfunctional and lengthy search.

I’m passionate about what I do and encourage all companies whether a placement agency or corporation to empower and encourage their recruiters to utilize the power of social recruitment – it is awesome and very rewarding.  In fact, I learn something new every day – a new way to source, a new site to explore, a new resource to add to my professional network.   Whatever the learning it broadens my knowledge; I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

 

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing.   She is an intuitive professional with extensive and acknowledged expertise in full-life cycle recruitment, selection and behavioural interviewing within Canada and the USA.  Lee is a results-oriented, creative individual who knows how to optimize the selection process.    She is a natural influencer who knows how to ask the right questions to fully engage the candidate.    Proven success in linking selection to performance to help identify and hire the best talent to drive business.  She guides hiring managers and candidates through the selection process with a wide degree of creativity, recruiting vision and understanding.

I just read this article by Sajjad Masud and totally agree; however this is not exactly new stuff.  I’ve been using social media as a part of the talent acquisition strategy for many years now.  If utilized properly it is a great way to find and connect with hidden talent.  Hope you enjoy the article!

http://mashable.com/2012/06/03/talent-acquisition-social/

 

Lee Koren is a certified as a professional in human resources (PHR) and specializes in recruitment and selection/talent acquisition strategy.  She is certified as a Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing and recognized as an expert when it comes to social recruiting.

On Friday, February 10 2012 I attended the IEP (Internationally Educated Professional) conference at the Toronto Convention Center.   I was invited to attend by Donna Messer and it had been a while since I trailed Donna on one of her speaking engagements.  So, being an internationally educated professional myself I gladly accepted the invitation.

The moment we arrived I could feel the electricity in the air and hear the “buzz” of excitement.  Donna went right to work getting to know the organizations that set up booths in the “market centre” at the conference; and of course asking every person she spoke with “how can I help you?”  Funny, this question always seems to surprise people; many do not have an immediate answer.   As I tagged along, from booth to booth, I realized not only was Donna networking but she was doing some last minute prep for her presentation.  The organizations present at the conference represent a program, process or association for international trained professionals and Donna in her very unique way was gathering information on the latest trends.  She is truly amazing; I knew I was in store for a day chalked full of learning.

Donna asked me to sit in the front row during her presentation.  I knew her intention was to introduce me as the Senior Recruiter from Ian Martin; and have me acknowledge certain facts about “the job search” – I’m always happy to help.   It is so inspiring to watch Donna work her magic; laughter filled the auditorium as Donna interacted with the audience.  Of course, there is never enough time and before we knew it Donna was given the signal to wrap up.   AHH – another great presentation; however; it was not over and I was pleasantly surprised at what happen next.   As I stood up to gather our purses and get ready to meet Donna back stage I noticed there was a crowd of people around me.  I glanced up at the stage and could not see Donna because she was engulfed in an even bigger crowd.  “OK, time to network”, so I turned my attention to the people waiting to speak with me and asked “how can I help you?”  An hour later, the crowd had dissipated and we made our way over to “coat check” and this time I was not only person trailing Donna.

It was truly an amazing day – on the ride home Donna asked for my opinion of the conference.  I stated it was an “eye opening” experience to see so many talented internationally trained professionals in one room – doctors, architects, accountants, lawyers, technical professionals (and the list goes on).  On the other hand, it was a bit frustrating when you realize each one is seeking employment in a province whose corporations still pin the “no Canadian experience” on newcomers.  It must be so confusing to the new Canadian when arriving in Ontario to try to figure out the best program, organization, association and/or training – where to start?

Donna has a new program which bridges the gap between education and employment which can help many of these talented individuals with the tools to build their bridge.  My hope is that more associations and organizations like IEP partner with Donna to get the word out about her systematic approach to bridging this very real gap.

To Donna I say thanks for doing what you do – you do it so very well.  To all the incredible people I met on Friday remember to get work you must network.


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