How referable are you?

Are you someone that others like to be around? Do you have a pleasing personality? Are you perceived by others as being professional and positive? Are you the type of person who gives back and contributes to others? Are you adding value to other people’s lives?

These are just a few questions you can begin to ask yourself to find out if you are someone others are likely to refer. Why is being someone who is referable important? People are not going to go out of their way to recommend you to a potential employer if you are not someone that they would want to do business with. The same goes for potential employers. When you go in for an initial interview, it is up to the person who is screening you to decide whether or not YOU will make THEM look good to their higher ups. 

This does not mean that finding a job is a popularity contest. It simply means that the more memorable you are (in a good way!), and the more people find you to be someone they would want to spend time with/do business with, the more likely you will it is that you will be recommended by that person. Here is a perfect example a person who is unlikely to have a high referability value:

Job Seeker Candidate A: “Here is my business card. I need a job ASAP and want you to recommend me to everyone you know. Things really suck right now. I was fired from my old job because my boss was a jerk who had it out for me and it was totally unfair that I was let go. I never get what I want and I don’t even know why I bother coming to these events.”

I wish this example were made up, but unfortunately I have seen some variation of this example in a variety networking situations. From an outsider perspective, it is easy to see why Candidate A would be unlikely to be recommended by anyone, let alone considered for a job by a potential employer. Below is another example of a job seeker in the exact same situation, but who holds an entirely different perspective:

Job Seeker Candidate B: “How are you? How is your job search coming? I am so glad to be here. It is wonderful to get out and be around people who are so upbeat and have such a great attitude about finding a new job. Is there anything I can do to be a resource for you in your job search? I would love it if we could connect on Linkedin and stay in touch. Could I get your information? Perhaps we could even grab a coffee to discuss our respective job searches and to see how we can help one another find our next job. I really look forward to getting to know you better.”

It is obvious to see that Candidate B would be much more likely to be recommended to a potential employer, and would have a much higher referability value overall. Sometimes job seekers do not even realize they are being negative, and they wind up sabotaging themselves and their job search unintentionally. If this is the case for you, it is never too late to start anew. Below are 3 tips to becoming more referable both in a networking situation and in an interview:

1) Be positive-What is done is done. The past should not hold you back from what is possible in the future. Focus on what you are now creating.

2) Make it about other people-Always offer to be a resource for another person. The same goes with potential employers. Do not ask “Do you have a job for me?” Instead offer resources and solutions that will help the employer with their problem or need.

3) Be memorable-Spend some time crafting a strong “Tell me about yourself statement.” This will help you to stand out from the millions of other job seekers who are fighting for the same job that you want.

If you want to see how referable you are, check out www.naymz.com. This is an interesting Social Networking website which takes referability to a whole new level. You are given a reputation score based on what people think of you in your network. It can be a valuable tool to see what your referability value is. If you do come to discover that you are not as referable as you had hoped, do not be discouraged. You can always increase your referability value, just remember to be positive, be a resource, and be memorable!

You can see my reputation network on Naymz at: 

http://www.naymz.com/jennifer_hill_andes_2720144

Can Linkedin hurt your job search?

Linkedin is a wonderful tool that, when used properly, can be instrumental in helping you land your next job. The challenge is that often times people misunderstand how to effectively use Linkedin, and that can come back to hurt them in the long run. Here are a few things to be consider when using Linkedin:

-Having an incomplete profile can hurt you. Linkedin has a lot of “Google Juice.” This means that if your name is even remotely unique, and you have created a profile on Linkedin, it will likely be the first or second thing that pops up when someone Google searches you. It is for this very reason that you want to make sure you have a complete profile that reflects who you are in the best possible light. You should create an on-line brand that represents who you are and what you offer in an effective, cohesive and consistent way.
-No profile picture = Less connections. People are less inclined to connect with people who do not have a profile picture.  Not having a profile picture can often make people wonder what you are trying to hide. News flash: If a company is going to discriminate against you based on what your profile picture looks like, they will also discriminate against you in person. Discrimination happens a lot less often then people think. Only about 5-10% of companies will discriminate based on things such as age or race. Unfortunately it does happen on occasion, but if I were you, I would not want to work for a company that might discriminate against me in the first place. Regardless, do not put up a random picture of yourself, try to make sure that the picture is somewhat professional.
-You are more likely to get hired if you have recommendations. Recommendations on Linkedin are taken very seriously as it is nearly impossible to fake a Linkedin recommendation. If a company Google’s you and sees that you have several recommendations via Linkedin, they will likely take your application much more seriously. A company could also be concerned if you do not have any recommendations, so it is always advisable to have at least one recommendation.

-Be careful who you associate with. If someone has a bad reputation in your industry, or if a company or group is not looked up positively, you might want to steer clear of connecting with that person or group via Social Media as it could reflect poorly upon you. Who you associate with says a lot about your personal brand and/or your business. You could be judged by who you are connected with so make sure that you think twice before adding someone that could potentially tarnish your reputation.

Should you use a Recruiter?

When is it appropriate to use a Recruiter?

1) Using a Recruiter can be very beneficial when you are working in a specialized area. Recruiters often help companies find candidates for hard to fill, specialized positions.
2) When you are looking for temporary work. If you are looking to supplement your income a Recruiter can be a great resource. When you register with an agency they will keep you on their active list and will keep you updated on any contract jobs that meet your job search criteria.
Why should you use a Recruiter?
*A Recruiter can often provide you with resources such as testing and internal information on specific companies and hiring managers that can help you land your next job
*Recruiters can critique your resume and can offer valuable information regarding what companies are looking for
*They will typically negotiate your salary for you
*A Recruiter may have access to job openings that you will not find on Monster or Careerbuilder
*One of the main reasons a job seeker might want to consider using a Recruiter is that using a Recruiter is FREE to the job seeker. Companies pay Recruiters to find them the right candidates, but Recruiters do not typically charge a job seeker to represent them.
Why should you be careful of using a Recruiter?
*A bad Recruiter can send your resume out to potential employers WITHOUT your permission and/or knowledge. Keep in mind that, unlike financial professionals, Recruiters do not have to report to any regulatory agency. Just like any position, there are good Recruiters and bad Recruiters out there. It is your job to interview your Recruiter and to make sure they are looking out for your best interests before you decide to move forward working with them.
         -Be careful about posting your resume on Monster & Careerbuilder! Recruiters can find your resume on those sites and send your          resume out without your knowledge.
         -Set up rules and realistic expectations with your Recruiter up front. Let your Recruiter know in advance that you want to have               every position run by you first before your resume gets sent out. Ideally, you should have an Excel spreadsheet with WHERE your          resume has been sent, to WHOM it has been sent, WHEN it was sent, WHAT company it was sent to, and if a Recruiter did send          your resume, be sure to list WHICH agency represented you for that position. 
         –Recruiters have anywhere from a 6 month to a 1 year contract with each company they work with. This is why it is important to               always know which agency sent you for a particular position. If ABC agency sent your resume to XYZ company in May, and now          XYZ company has another position posted in July, you will be obligated to go through ABC agency again if you want to pursue               that opportunity. This is not always a bad thing, but it is something you should be aware of and keep track of.
         -If you are looking to make a career transition, a Recruiter might not be the best resource for you. Recruiters are paid a fee by a               company to find EXACTLY what that company is looking for. This means Recruiters might not have as much wiggle room to try               and get a candidate an interview when that candidate’s experience is not a direct fit. 
Overall, Recruiters can be a wonderful resource for you in your job search when used properly. Do not rely 100% on a Recruiter to find you a job. They will do the best they can, but cannot find every job seeker a job every time. It is important to always be honest, patient and respectful with Recruiters, and if you are, you will reap the rewards! 

The Art of Intentional Listening

Being able to actively listen is one thing, but having the ability to discern what the other person really wants is an art form. In today’s competitive market, it is more important than ever to have a leg up on the competition. One way to make yourself stand out in an interview or network situation is to intentionally listen for what the other person wants or needs. If you are wondering how you can listen intentionally, then this article is for you.   

Most people listen to others through a filter. In fact, study after study has shown that people only listen effectively 25% of the time! People often only hear what they want to hear, and do not pay close enough attention to what is said, and more importantly, to what is not said. Imagine the last time you were having a conversation and your mind began to wander to what you had for breakfast or to the list of errands you had to run. People do not typically listen to what others have to say, rather, they are simply waiting for their turn to offer their opinion or ideas. The same is true for interviewing.


When you are in an interview, you are often wrapped up in trying to think of the next question the interviewer might ask you or perhaps how to convince them to hire you. Rarely do people listen for what the employer needs and how they can solve the employer’s problem. If you can learn how to listen for the problems a company needs solved and then turn around and offer a solution, you will blow the competition away!


Below are 3 tips to help you become a more intentional listener:

 

1) Be present-Empty your mind and focus on what the other person is saying, rather then your next response. Be willing to focus all your attention on what the other person is saying. It can be draining to be present all of the time, but in the long run, it is worth it.

 

2) Think/Listen empathetically-Be sensitive to the other person’s feelings and thoughts. Avoid using the word “but,” as it negates anything that was said prior. Focus on repeating back to the person what was said in a way that has the other person feel understood, such as “I can see why you would feel that way.”

 

3) Ask questions and offer insights-A great listener will want to make sure they understand the problem clearly. They will ask pertinent questions related to the conversation and will add ideas or insights to what the speaker has already said. This will give the speaker the experience of being heard.

 

Intentional listening takes hard work and focus. It can take an hour or a minute to hear what the other person is saying, that is up to you. If you take the time to work on your intentional listening skills, you will amazed at what you hear.

Why use Twitter in your job search?

What is Twitter, and why should I use it for my job search?

Twitter is a FREE social networking and micro-blogging service that allows people to communicate through 140 characters or less, otherwise known as their tweets. Twitter gives people a chance to network and communicate with millions of people world-wide. Some people use their tweets to share simple every day things such as where they are or what they are doing at that moment, however, job seekers are beginning to realize the value of utilizing Twitter in their job search. Below are the top 5 reasons you should be using Twitter to enhance your job search efforts:

1) Get up to the minute updates on hot jobs! A job seeker can now be alerted through Twitter the moment a hot new job is posted by getting on websites like www.tweetmyjobs.com, www.jobshouts.com, and/or by following recruiters at various agencies and companies.  

2) Each tweet is treated as its own individual web page by Google. This means that what you say on Twitter will automatically help raise your Google ranking (especially if you use your first and last name as your Twitter User name), so make what you say meaningful!

3) Be seen as an expert in your field. Are you transitioning into a new career or do you have less experience than your competition? If so, it has never been easier to establish yourself as an expert by tweeting about relevant topics in your field.

4) Get connected. 80% of jobs are found by word of mouth, and of the 80% of people who find jobs by word of mouth, a majority of those people find their jobs through acquaintances, not close friends!

5) Use your tweets to let others know about your job search. It is great to connect with a lot of people and to be seen as an expert in your field, but you also need to let your followers know what you are looking for. Communicate with your followers by asking them for introductions to particular companies, and offer your connections or knowledge as a resource in return!

Volunteer Experience

When you Volunteer, should you add your volunteer experience to your resume?

YES

There are two possible situations:

1) In the first situation, you may still be employed and be looking for another job. If the volunteer work you are doing while working is NOT in the field that you are looking to get into, then you do not need to list the volunteer work as a position on your resume. In that situation, your volunteer work can go at the bottom of your resume under accomplishments, hobbies, interests, groups, associations etc… If you are doing volunteer work in a field that you currently have no experience in, and are looking to transition into, then it is a good idea to to list your volunteer work as an actual position under your “Work Experience.”

2) In the second situation, you are unemployed and looking for a job. The longer you have been out of work, the more important it is to show something on your resume to explain what you have been doing since your last job. This could be temporary or contract work, or if you volunteer, you can list your volunteer experience as your most recent position. Employers like to see that you have been doing something since you got laid off.

It is important to note that when you list your volunteer work on your resume you should put (Volunteer) next to your experience so that there is no confusion!

Remember, volunteer work can be just as important as paid work, especially when you are learning new and valuable skills.

To list an address or not to list an address…

Yesterday I was speaking at a job seeker workshop and the question arose about whether or not one should list an address on their resume. My thoughts on this are that It depends on the situation. Some companies will require you to have an address, however, as wBurbank, there is a strong possibility that the company in Burbank will be reticent to bring you in for an interview. They might worry that you will get burned out from the commute and quit after a few months. The same is true for people who are relocating long distances. If a company can hire someone just as qualified as you, but the other person lives locally, chances are they will choose the person who lives closer rather than risk dealing with relocation costs and the chance that you might decide not to relocate after all.

It is also important to be careful about posting your resume on www.monster.com or www.careerbuilder.com with your home address. You never know who might find that information. For those candidates that do want to list their address or need to list their address for particular jobs, I always recommend getting a PO Box during the time that you are looking. Getting a PO Box can be a good way to avoid any unwanted solicitations. If you live out of area, you may want to consider leaving your address off your resume, getting a PO Box in the area you are relocating to, or finding out if you can use a friend’s address in the area you are looking to move to.

There is no right answer, but if you notice you are not getting interviews in locations that are further away, you may want to consider alternative options.

Failure is NOT an Option

Failure does not exist. There is only what works and what does not work. Edison said it best when he said “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” When you redefine your definition of failure in a way that is empowering to you, you will be able to develop a new, more powerful relationship to your unfulfilled expectations. Remember, expectations are pre-made resentments.

For example, if you go into an interview and you prepare for hours rehearsing your answers over and over, yet you still get passed on, chances are you might wind up beating yourself up and thinking to yourself how unfair it is that you were not hired, or how you are not worth hiring. If instead, you look at this as a learning opportunity, you can create something very powerful. You could look at being passed on as a chance to grow yourself as an individual and as a potential employee. Take this opportunity of being passed on to evaluate what was missing in the interview that might have made a difference and ask yourself “Would I have been happy in this job?” Often times we sabotage an interview because we know intuitively the job is not what we want. Perhaps not being hired for that particular position is the best thing that could have happened. Look at what possibilities you can create out of NOT being the one who was chosen, and create an empowering context for your next interview.
Many people relate to failure as though failing means something is wrong with them, however, this perspective can be detrimental to one’s personal growth and development, as well as, to achieving one’s goals.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. If you find you keep getting the same results that don’t work for you, then it is time for you to branch out and expand yourself in a whole new way. A great exercise that I often give my clients is called the “3 NOs.”
This exercise entails attempting to get 3 NOs from people about something that is important to you. Your objective is to get the person you are asking to say NO. Some of you reading this might cringe at the thought of hearing NO, and others might think that getting a NO is no big deal. Wherever you are at is perfect. The purpose of this exercise is to get present to your relationship to failure. By better understanding your relationship to failure and being able to be unstoppable in the face of hearing NO, you will learn to become fearless. A great example of practicing getting NOs is with dating. If you are someone who is single, I would encourage you to ask 3 complete strangers out on a date and be intentional in getting a NO from them. You might even be pleasantly surprised by a YES. The same goes for a job seeker. As a job seeker you can practice calling CEOs and HR Manager on Linkedin and asking for an interview. You might be surprised by the results you produce!