This book should make HR and hiring managers think twice about what they see on some resumes: The HR Manager’s Guide to Background Checks and Pre-Employment Testing, by Adrian Miedema and Christina Hall share some shocking statistics regarding the frequency of resume lies. In a book excerpt by The Globe and Mail, the authors present their research into fraudulent resumes and offer several reasons why employers should take the time to check the accuracy of their candidates’ resumes.
When you are in the middle of a job search it is important to use as many resources as you can to help you find the right job fast. This includes social media options like twitter and linkedin, and facebook into your tool kit. The following are some tips for Optimizing your Resume for Social Media.
The glory of a resume is that it’s completely fluid. A resume can be big, small, online, offline, video-recorded, illustrated, etc. No matter the format, your resume will only improve when combined with social media.
Follow these four tips to optimize your resume with social media.
1. Link to Social
Nowadays, 10.9% of resumes include a social media link, and the number continues to rise. The more transparent you make yourself to potential employers, the more comfortable they’ll be hiring you.
Include your Facebook, Twitter and especially LinkedIn profile URLs along the top of your resume, next to your name, email and phone number. Make sure the links are handy so the employer can quickly learn more about you, without having to do a lot of digging.
2. Fact-Check Yourself
While sending your information out in a dozen different directions, it’s easy to overlook outdated information. Therefore, update constantly. An employer shouldn’t see one thing on your resume and something different on LinkedIn.
Keep a list of all the social media and career sites on which have professional accounts or information. Once a month, check to make sure everything is up-to-date and matches your current resume.
3. Don’t Just Copy/Paste
Your resume is full of content that also works great for your social media profiles. Feel free to use information from your resume for social network sections like “work experience,” “about me,” etc.
However, remember to share carefully selected content. Don’t just copy/paste your entire resume into your “about me” section. Not only will this flood your profile, but your resume’s formatting probably won’t travel well either.
Instead of copy/pasting, select a handful of solid phrases or anecdotes for your social profile. That way, you’ll guarantee that anyone reading your profile will get the most important information.
4. Use Keywords for SEO
Beyond your experience, skills and goals, remember that keywords are king. The unfortunate truth about today’s job search is that potential employers use Google and almighty Applicant Tracking Systems to peruse social media sites for the best candidates.
To stay on top of current industry jargon, study similar job listings for words that pop up frequently. Additionally, a variety of powerful SEO tools, which already exist for marketers, can easily be re-purposed to optimize your resume for search.
Those are just 4 tips to help your Job search if you want some more tips for finding work in today’s marketplace, check out our article on How to Find a Job.
How do you find work?
This is a question I’ve been asked time and again at job fairs and from HireGround followers. So I am going to endeavour to provide you with all the tips and intuition that I can from my personal experiences and from what I’ve gathered since working at HireGround and reading the postings on HGCareers.com. I hope you enjoy these tips and that they are help to you.
Let start from scratch No Job Lot’s of Hope
The first thing you need to do is update your resume… Actually scratch that; the first thing you need to do is put aside your pride and talk to your friends. They saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” So who DO you know? Tell your friends that you are looking for a job and ask them if they know of any openings. It seems like a simple enough thing to do but often people are reluctant to let others know that they need help. That’s just your pride messing with you. Time to put that aside and ask for a hand.
Your Social Network
Post a facebook update with something like, “I am looking for a job, please help me out!” Facebook offers an excellent venue to engage your friends in your search by asking them for a little help. Think about how many times you have seen them asking for you to vote for them to win a prize. Well finding a job is just like that; it’s a prize that you want and every one of your friends should know that. They have connections to other people and organizations that you don’t and it’s becomes about accessing the Hidden Job Market. There are many opportunities out there that never get posted or have just been waiting for the right person to fill.
While we are on facebook, remember that a lot more companies are doing facebook searches for potential employees so if you have a bunch of pictures that may not display you in the best light for a new job, make sure to update your privacy so that they can’t see them.
2) Update your LinkedIn profile and resume at the same time.
In case you don’t know LinkedIn offers a more professional way to network with potential employers, past coworkers and friends. This is also becoming the leader in job search; companies will post jobs and even recruitment agencies will search your profile for specific skills. More importantly, it will take you step by step through updating your professional profile and once you have finished creating it to the fullest details you are able to, download it and BAM your new resume is just a few formats away. If you already have a Profile and have kept it up to date check out this article on forbs What to say on LinkedIn when you’ve been fired.
Twitter can be another way that you can keep up to date with new jobs in your area. By subscribing to twitter lists you can receive a tweet about different jobs that have been posted from various companies and job boards. Follow @HireGroundJobs to get daily tweets of all the new jobs that our clients offer. Creating lists using hash tags (#) is a great way to see only the jobs in your city. For example, #yyc #jobs would bring you all the jobs tagged with Calgary and Jobs. Also, following different organizations can link you to articles that could help you with more tips for finding work and updating your resume. There is a lot of information out there so try to use your time wisely.
4) Get Exposure
HireGround offers a job seekers contest to participants to get their job search featured on our HR Newsletters. This month it is a cover letter contest; submit a cover letter and you could likely be featured. Why would this be good for you? Because we have over 3000 recipients of the newsletter and most of them are responsible for or connected with the hiring of employees. Companies like CNRL, Connacher Oil and Gas, Wood Group PSN, Cenovus Energy and many more. If they are reading this and notice you are looking for a job in a position they are hiring, they could contact you. It’s about building a network as wide as you can to catch as many job opportunities as possible, as well as finding a way to stand out from you competition.
Plan your Attack!
It’s important to set goals for your job search because after applying for many… many… jobs and hearing nothing back it can become a little depressing. That is why it is important to create a plan and set a goal so that you can keep up the momentum. Remember it’s a slugfest out there and you need to keep working at it every day!
1) Set an applying target for the week
Make a goal for how many jobs per week you need to apply for and stick to it. Make it realistic and achievable. Don’t start with 100 jobs – start with a lower number like 15 so that you can reach it and also spend time exploring other avenues of the job search.
2) Explore the hidden job market
The Hidden Job Market is the name for all the jobs out there that don’t get advertised and perhaps are just waiting for the right person to come along. One way to gain access to these is to start by asking your friends for any opportunities they know of or introductions to hiring managers. Next would be using your LinkedIn profile to find ways to connect with people outside your immediate circle of friends. There are all sorts of groups that you can join in your related career and ones for jobs in your area. Follow any companies that you are interested in working for and look for possible connections that could introduce you.
3) Automate your search
Many job boards such as www.HGCareers.com offer job alerts if you create a profile with them. They will send a list of new jobs to your email with all recently posted jobs matching your criteria. You can also subscribe to their twitter teed such as @HireGroundJobs or other lists that post jobs through twitter. It’s all about making your job search more efficient.
Don’t give up, keep yourself positive.
1) Call back
If you apply to a job and don’t hear back from the job, try calling the office to inquire about your application. Sometimes showing a little determination can go a long way, a carefully worded inquiry could be your foot in the door.
2) Keep updating your cover letter and resume
If you have sent out a bunch of resumes and cover letters and still heard nothing back, try switching up your approach. They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Talk a look at our cover letters section on the HireGround Blog to see some more tips on writing a cover letter. Also have a qualified friend take a look at your resume and get some pointers.
3) Be open to a survival job
If you can’t find enough jobs in the direct position you want you will need to begin to expand your search criteria. There is nothing wrong with taking a job that’s outside what you want as a survival job until the right position opens up. Obviously you don’t want to give the impression that you are only interested in the job temporarily because you’ll never get hired. There is nothing wrong with building new experiences as long as you keep you ideal job in your sights.
I hope that you found some of these suggestions useful and that you have success.
(a.k.a. How to Write a Good One!)
Every résumé should be accompanied by a cover letter with 5 parts. In this article I am going to demonstrate the mechanics of a well written cover letter. I hope this provides some value and enables you to craft your own cover letter to generate interest on behalf of a potential hiring manager.
The Salutation (The Hello): Get a name, any name. By hook or by crook try to get a name. Sometimes you can’t – then try To whom it may concern or Dear hiring manager.
Dear Hiring Manager:
The Opening (The Grab): Your opening paragraph is your introduction and presents the reader with some immediate and focused information regarding the position you are pursuing and a few core competencies that demonstrate your strength:
Having contributed as an operations and general business leader, I am writing to express my interest in [Name of Position] with [Name of Company]. You will see on the enclosed résumé that I turned around an underperforming business, substantially improved productivity and employee morale, and possess critical and creative thinking skills that will facilitate my swift contribution to your sustained growth.
The Second Paragraph (The Hook): This paragraph should define some examples of the work performed and results achieved. This paragraph should be connected to your résumé. This does not mean that you should copy verbatim what is in the résumé. Rather, cover some key competencies that you feel define your success. In the event that you are highlighting some information that is not contained in the résumé (if you are switching careers, or have a unique value proposition), this is the perfect place to cover that information. Use bullets to define key areas of achievement and highlight what you bring:
My professional experiences include my recent position with XYZ Corporation as Operations Manager, and previous positions with ABC Corporation, and DEF Corporation. In all of my roles I guided the professional development of staff and gained consensus for the adoption of new ideas due to my demonstrated ability to clearly present value added recommendations. The following is a brief sample of the expertise I offer:
■ Conceptualized and implemented an innovative business strategy whereby inventory was maintained at vendor locations, resulting in the effective use of a JIT system and annual savings of $250,000 for XYZ Corporation.
■ Established internal operating procedures that reduced employee downtime by 15%. In addition to conducting cross-training initiatives, I fostered an environment predicated on accountability for results, which improved the team’s commitment to the attainment of short- and long-term goals.
■ Conducted industry and competitive analysis while at ABC Corporation, which enabled senior leadership to analyze potential acquisition opportunities. After contributing to the due diligence process, three targets were pursued, and resulted in one successful deal. From working with attorneys, investment bankers, and CPA’s, to serving as a key liaison to senior leadership, my recommendations were successfully implemented.
The Third Paragraph (Paragraph of Knowledge): Here demonstrate something you know about the company that prompted you to write. This shows the reader that you did some preliminary homework and understand the company’s drivers and goals:
After researching 123 Company, I understand that your immediate goal is to improve business performance and establish key benchmarks within [Name of Industry]. Your recent acquisition of [Company Name], puts you in a position to gain market share and establish a unique brand presence with potential and existing customers. Given my professional achievements, I am in a position to help you quickly achieve your goals.
The Fourth Paragraph (The Close): In the closing paragraph quickly summarize what you offer and close by either suggesting a meeting or indicating that you will call in a certain number of days. If you choose the latter approach, make sure you follow-up within the timeframe you reference.
I bring a tool kit comprised of leadership, strategic planning, and analytical skills; and I would be pleased to review my credentials with you to personally explore how I can contribute as a member of your senior leadership team. Please feel free to contact me at the number above to arrange a time to speak.
A primer for student job hunters
From Friday’s Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 02, 2011 7:08PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Jun. 03, 2011 5:50PM EDT
Summer’s almost here and for university and college students, the arrival of warm weather signals the start of job-hunting season. Many of the new graduates will be looking for full-time work, preferably in their field of study, while the ones returning to school in September will be in search of summer jobs.
The job market can be tough for young Canadians, with unemployment in that demographic currently about 14 per cent. So we asked career and human resource experts for their tips and advice for young job seekers on how to find work and boost their career prospects.
Build a solid résumé
Students and new grads often struggle with their résumés because they feel they don’t have enough work experience relevant to the jobs they’re applying for. But they can still present themselves well on paper by emphasizing the contributions they made and the skills they learned on the job, said Peter Jeewan, CEO and president of Lannick Group of Companies, a Toronto-based recruitment firm that specializes in accounting, legal, IT and administrative placements.
Instead of simply listing the tasks that had to be done in a certain job, your résumé should describe what skills were used to complete these tasks, Mr. Jeewan said.
Nor should job seekers be shy when it comes to talking about their individual contributions.
“A mistake many students make is they tend to always speak about themselves as part of a group instead of talking about their individual accomplishments,” he said. “For example, if they took part in a fundraising event, they’ll say they participated in raising $1,000 for the event instead of saying they personally raised $1,000 for the event.”
Of course, having a résumé that shows your ability to work as part of a team is important too, he said. He strongly advises students and new graduates to include team sports on their résumé.
“This tells potential employers that, yes, you can function well within a team setting,” Mr. Jeewan said. “It also lets them know you have a competitive drive, which is useful in any role because it’s what makes you want to succeed.”
Do your research
Whether you’re a new graduate or a seasoned worker, it’s important to cover the basics of job hunting, said Eric Appleyard, manager of corporate recruitment and university relations talent management at Toronto-Dominion Bank. For starters, he stresses the importance of proofreading cover letters, résumés and any other written material sent to the recruiting company.
“Unfortunately, some students trip up on these things and we see things like typos, which are avoidable,” he said.
With easy access to the Internet, students looking for work have no excuse for not doing their research about the hiring company and the job they’re applying for, he said.
“This is more than just finding out what the company does,” he explained. “By doing your research, you’ll understand the core values of the organization and be able to relate these to your own values and traits, and you can come to the interview well prepared to highlight these attributes.”
Look smart, dress smart
Money can be tight when you’re on a student budget. Nevertheless, it’s important to wear your best professional clothes for a job interview, Mr. Jeewan said.
“Dress as well as you can possibly afford, because people are very visual and you have that one opportunity to make a good impression,” he said. “I always tell candidates, ‘Don’t buy the suit if you get the job, buy the suit because you want the job.’ ”
Mr. Appleyard agrees, adding that students don’t need to break the bank to buy a Hugo Boss suit. What’s more important, he said, is for a job seeker to come in looking clean and well groomed, with hair combed neatly, clothes freshly pressed and shoes polished and scuff-free.
“Sometimes students are rushed or they just pulled an all-nighter and they come in looking a bit rough for the interview,” he said. “But it really doesn’t take much to pull yourself together, and it makes all the difference because it shows you made an effort to look presentable.”
Tap into your school’s network
Universities and colleges are among the best places to make career connections, said Anna Cranston, director of management career services at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Most professors have ties to industry and are happy to recommend their good students to potential employers.
Schoolmates with jobs might also be able to open doors to their place of work; some might even be motivated by referral bonuses paid by their employer as a thank-you for recruiting a new worker.
Students and new grads should also remember to tap into their school’s alumni network, Ms. Cranston said.
“Talk to the people in alumni or career services, or perhaps your alumni association, to find out how you can connect to alumni who are currently working in your field of interest,” she said. “Many of these people are happy to help someone from their old university.”
However, Ms. Cranston cautions against asking about work prospects too soon during these networking efforts. Instead, she suggests an informational interview, where a student or new graduate can inquire about the nature of a particular job or discipline, and ask for suggestions about breaking into a particular field.
An information interview doesn’t have to take long, she noted. A 15-minute phone conversation can yield a lot of useful information – and set down the foundation of a long-term business relationship.
“If you do a good job at this conversation, you could establish a good relationship with the person on the other line,” Ms. Cranston said. “Then maybe down the line, you could broach the topic and ask, ‘Do you think there could be an opportunity for me in your organization?’ ”
GETTING THE JUMP ON CAMPUS
Students who are heading into their graduate year of university or college should be poised to jump into job-hunting mode at the very start of that final year, said Anna Cranston, director of management career services at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
That’s when most major companies looking to hire fresh graduates start recruiting on campus. “Companies like Microsoft, IBM, the big oil and gas, accounting and finance firms, they all start doing their job fairs in September and October, and by November they’re interviewing and offering positions to the students they’ve chosen,” Ms. Cranston said.
“So if you’re one of the chosen ones, think what a great spot you’ll be in for the rest of the school year because you know you’ve got a job to go to after graduation.”
Companies recruiting on campus usually go through the school’s career centre, Ms. Cranston noted, so it’s a good idea to drop in regularly or at least check the centre’s website for notices about job fairs and other networking events sponsored by hiring companies.
“A lot of people miss these opportunities because they’re not looking for them and then it’s too late,” she said.
Special to The Globe and Mail