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Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

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.

As an Employment Consultant I come into contact with senior level individuals in career transition. Most have held President, Vice President or Director positions in mid to large size companies. When an upper level executive is outplaced the company will most often provide some type of an outplacement package. It is very important to take full advantage of these outplacement services; it can be a life line in starting to prepare for the next career opportunity. Yes, being laid off is a stressful experience; and more so for senior level management. It is quite an adjustment, especially if the individual has been with the company for 10-15+ years. Learning how to search for a job in today’s market is a job in itself.

There are services available for all individuals in career transition. Employment Ontario is a government funded program which offers many good services; however, it may fall short when trying to assist the executive with his/her job search. This type of job search involves strategic sourcing, planning and networking, not to mention a very professional looking resume which mirrors the Linkedin profile.
Below are 10 Helpful Hints:
1. Take advantage of all industry related associations.
2. Update Linkedin profile and join appropriate groups – stay visible.
3. Network, Network, Network. A suggestion may be to join a reputable networking team. The Power Team offered through ConnectUs Canada is motivational, Innovational and chalked full of networking. There is a small fee but it is well worth it.
4. If the severance package contains outplacement – use those consultants to help build your professional profile and resume.
5. Some outplacement firms also offer business level workshops on a variety of different topics.
6. Join a local executive networking club – most are informal and get together for coffee once a week.
7. Conduct research on reputable Executive Search Firms, place a call and initiate a conversation with one of the partners.
8. Prepare an Introduction Letter – it is different from the resume. It introduces your competencies, knowledge and abilities.
9. Target companies by utilizing Scott’s Directory or other Business Directories and send the Introduction Letter – not a resume.
10. Above all stay Positive and remember to P.U.S.H. (Push Until Something Happens).

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources and recognized as an expert in selection, recruitment and career transition management

As an Employment Consultant I work with Internationally Trained Professionals, new Canadians who have immigrated to Canada. They are filled with hope and anticipation of a better life and Canada does deliver socially with loads of government funded programs to help the new Canadian ease into a new life.

Unfortunately the government has not been able to change the employer’s perspective; there still exists the paradox of “Canadian experience”. All too often the new Canadian bumps up against “no Canadian experience” as the reason they are not qualified for a potential role.

As a result, too many new Canadians give up on their profession and take a lower level job because they need the income. Some do persevere, finding out what it will take to have their degree and experience recognized in Canada. Ontario has very strict guidelines for certain professions like teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc. For those new Canadians who have solid work experience in their home country in other professions such as Medical Administrative Assistant – they should invest in some type of training program which offers a Canadian diploma or certification. The following list is key to success:
1. They need to get his/her English assessed, to be considered job ready, an individual needs to be at a level 7-8.
2. They need to get an education evaluation through WES (World Education Services) or ICAS (International Credential Assessment Service of Canada). This can be started while still in their home country.
3. They need to research International Trained Bridging programs to see what it will take to bridge their experience. There is a cost associated, depending on the program.
4. Internationally trained professionals should research and participate in volunteer opportunities to help gain visibility and to become more familiar with the Canadian job market.
5. They need to do the research and put together a strategic plan which will result in their education and experience being recognized in Ontario.
Contrary to popular believe, it is not easy for new Canadians to find a job – especially in the Province of Ontario. As an employment consultant I encourage internationally trained professionals to follow the list above.

A subset of this strategic plan might be a temporary part-time job in sales, customer service or retail to help pay the bills – optimum words being “part-time”. Too many new Canadians get stuck in a full time survival job and as time passes lose the opportunity to capitalize on their international education and expertise.
I have personally witnessed the success of International Trained Professionals who create a strategic plan and follow it step by step until they are offered a professional position which capitalizes on their education and home country experience. It can and will happen with patience and determination.

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and is an expert in selection, recruitment and career transition management.

Check out this article by Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes Staff. There are some very good points here especially the part about networking. Successful job seekers know the value of networking, don’t just send a resume on-line, get out there, be visible and network. Also pay attention to the section about keeping your resume simple, no graphics, tables or logos which might “clog” an applicant tracking system. Enjoy – Lee A Koren, PHR

Many job seekers spend countless hours writing, polishing and blasting their resumes to dozens of companies. Then they wait, and wait, and never hear a thing.
That’s because human resources people and hiring managers receive heaps of resumes for any given job opening, and they end up missing, skipping or tossing a lot of them. However, it turns out there are things you can do to help ensure your resume is seen.

Career experts and a spokesperson for Glassdoor.com, a jobs and career community where people share information and opinions about their workplaces, weigh in.
“I think resumes end up in the resume black hole if the person just responds to a posting or ad and does nothing else,” says Anita Attridge, a Five O’Clock Club career and executive coach. “Today companies are receiving hundreds of resumes for each position and, due to the volume, are not acknowledging receipt of them. Most large and medium-size companies are using applicant tracking systems to screen resumes before a person looks at them. Smaller organizations many just review the ones they receive until they find enough qualified candidates and then set the other resumes aside.”

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at the jobs site CareerBuilder.com, says she suggests that candidates use the job posting to their advantage. “Use some of the same words and phrases that appear in the job posting in your resume,” she says. “The computer will then recognize them and move your resume toward the top of the pile because you will be a match. But don’t just cut and paste the job posting into your resume or cover letter. If the computer doesn’t catch it, the hiring manager definitely will, and it could hurt your chances of moving forward with an interview.”

Ruth Robbins, a certified career counselor with the Five O’Clock Club, agrees that using buzz words and key phrases that demonstrate you are a perfect fit for the job will help you get on the employer’s radar—but even with a perfectly tailored resume, there is no way to know if or when it will be reviewed by the hiring manager.
“The best way to make sure your resume is seen is by networking into the company,” Attridge says. “Let your networking contact know that you have applied for a position, and ask that person if he or she would send your resume to the H.R. department with an endorsement of you as a candidate. Another way is to try to determine who the hiring manager is and send a resume directly to that person, with a letter asking for an informational interview.”

Robbins agrees. “H.R. managers are often avalanched with resumes, so if you can find someone who works at the company who would be willing to hand in your resume directly to a hiring manager or interested influencer in the selection process, your chances of landing in the black hole [will shrink significantly],” she says.
Mary Elizabeth Bradford, an executive resume writer and author of the bestselling eBook series The Career Artisan, offers some alternative advice. “From what I have seen, what works best in any market is for the job seeker to take a pure, entrepreneurial approach to their job search process,” she says. “I think it would be futile to call H.R. and leave repeated voice messages. A better way is to contact a key decision maker through hard mail and follow up with a phone call. Go around H.R. That’s provocative, right? Well, it works.”

Samantha Zupan, a spokesperson for Glassdoor, agrees that it’s smart to look for more than one way to apply. “In addition to sending your resume through a company’s online job portal, also take the time to do some research and try to identify who the hiring manager may be. If you send a personalized note to the likely hiring manager, a good e-mail may get your resume pulled out of the stack.”
Zupan offers some additional advice:
Have someone proofread your resume. Sometimes it can be something as small as a typo that may turn off an employer and land you in the black hole, she says. “Before sending your resume, have at least one person you trust review it so that it can have a better chance of catching the eyes of the employer.”
Keep it simple. Avoid graphics and logos and other things that may “clog” how an applicant tracking system reads your resume, Zupan suggests.

Research the company’s hiring process. “Companies like Google and Facebook include specific insights into their interview process,” Zupan says. “For example, on the Google careers page, they let you know that one of their recruiters is the first to review your resume and that they look first at your qualifications and experience.” Thorough research can help you properly prepare to avoid the resume black hole.

Today I was helping a young lady with her job search.  We discussed the typical things – Resume, Job Search and Interview Strategies.   She told me about an interview she recently attended wherein the interviewer asked her “If you could be a fruit, what type of fruit would you be”.   Hmm, I’m surprised these questions are still being asked in interviews.  I immediately asked her if the interviewer disclosed herself as a doctor (psychologist or psychiatrist) – she said no – but could not confirm that the interviewer did not hold this distinguished designation.    Then I asked her if the interview was with Apple – I mean maybe the interviewer was looking for “apple” as a good faith answer – a little interview humour?  However, the company was not Apple.

Ok so here I go – up on my soap box.  What in the world does “fruit” have to do with getting a job as a customer service rep?  I’d like to see that job description – really how do you incorporate “fruit” into the job requirements?  Let’s see – “Must love all fruits” or “Only fruit lovers will be considered” Or “Must be able to deal with all kinds of fruits” – I mean really!!!!

Unless the interviewer is a bona fide psychologist or psychiatrist and knows how to decipher the answer then he/she has no business asking the question.   These types of questions asked by inexperienced interviewers almost always lead to subjective and bias decisions without any measureable evidence to back up the decision.   Think about it – my response might be “a peach” – when I’m asked “why a peach”  I say” because I like peaches” – little do I know that the interviewer dislikes peaches –  or maybe he/she is allergic to peaches – there’s one subjective strike against me.

If you are asking junior shrink questions in the interview try replacing it with a behavioural interview question?  It is much better to identify the skills and competencies required to perform the job and develop behavioural/performance based questions to help you evaluate each candidate consistently – so much more objective.  Remember, poor hiring decisions are very costly; and questions about what type of fruit, colour or dog a person prefers will end up costing your company in more ways than one

Lee Koren is a Human Resource Professional with extensive international experience.  She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management and a Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing.  Lee possesses over 25 years of experience in selection and recruitment.  She has recruited and hired thousands of resources for large global corporations.  Born and raised in Toronto, Lee spent a large portion of her career in Dallas, Texas where she enhanced her knowledge and expertise in behavioural interviewing.   She has facilitated behavioural interviewing workshops worldwide for corporate leaders.  Lee’s passion and talent is “selection” which inspired her to develop and deliver a variety of workshops.   Lee uses a common sense approach in sharing her vast knowledge.  

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in the Day with Donna at Stone Edge Estate a Bed & Breakfast on the Edge of the Niagara Escarpment. It is owned by Doug Rapien and is a beautiful place surrounded by fantastic scenery  – http://www.stoneedgeestate.ca/

We gathered in a luxurious meeting room, a Dentist, Engineers, RN/Health Nutritionist, Artist, Financial Planner and of course me – a Talent Acquisition Specialist. We were strangers brought together by Donna to learn how to take our business to the next level, no matter how small or large. It was an exciting journey and one that was filled with inspiration, laughter and a large amount of learning. By the end of the day, as typical with all of Donna’s events, the strangers became a team collaborating on how best to help each other. We developed measureable goals and over the next 60 days Donna will monitor each and every one of us to insure we are following through. In addition, the team will stay connected offering support as we strive to achieve our business goals.

Donna broadcasted the event on BlogTalkRadio – I invite you to listen to the broadcast and meet the wonderful group of people I had the pleasure of spending the day with:

http://t.co/K7f07Pyx

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and master trainer in behavioural interviewing. Her passion and expertise are in talent acquisition/selection strategies on both the corporate and individual sides. Lee knows how to identify performance skills for a specific role; and how to use social recruiting to find the right talent needed to drive business performance.

I just read an article from the Harvard Business Review about why top talent is in a nonstop job hunt and I say “right on” – this is not a new scenario. Most companies do not have a strong talent management programs to help retain talented employees. This article hits the nail right on the head – unless companies are recognizing and developing their talent, there will be turnover and they will lose high potentials which will affect buisness.  Take a look at one of my earlier Blogs “Does your Talent Management Program Drive Business Performance?” – yep it is all above talented people – hiring and retaining. The economy is turning the corner and there are more opportunities available so if your company believes “talented people drive business performance” then it is time to take action!

Enjoy this article written by Monika Hamon, Jie Cao and Burak Koyunca http://bit.ly/LALXeh

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Ressources (PHR) and a Master Trainer in behavioural interviewing.  Her passion and expertise are recruitment and talent acquisition.


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