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Job interviews that scream “Don’t work for us!”

Given the current news that is regularly broadcast about the latest redundancies in Australia & New Zealand, it might seem ridiculous to even consider turning down a job offer, particularly if you have been on the job hunt for the last six months or more.

Most of the hiring professionals I speak to say they have become very reluctant to advise anyone to turn down a job these days. This makes it very tempting to jump at the first thing that comes along after several job interviews. However, even in today’s job climate there are still some reasons to consider declining that offer.

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Personal Branding and Job Hunting

Personal Branding – How a Single Sentence Can Get You a Job

When you see one of those cool Smart Cars, what comes to your mind? Most likely the carmakers cool design, but more often the catchy brand proposition: “Keep it Simple – Reduce to the Max.” Mercedes has changed the way we consume cars and made us think differently about cool concept driving. Do what they do – have a brand promise: a personal brand to get the next cool job. Read more

Job search help for your friend

How to give you friend genuine job search help

When my friends call me for help, I instinctively try to do whatever I can do ‘assist’. But when it comes to something as personal and stressful as looking for a new job, this isn’t always the best approach.

Just doing stuff for the sake of demonstrating your friendship is neither useful nor helpful. Instead, it takes listening, understanding, and employing a whole lot of tact. Read on for five ‘friendly’ strategies on how to really give your friend some job search help. Read more

job search resume

So You Have a Resume: Now What?

This blog post is the second in a new series authored by The Job Search Coach marketing intern Jasha Andrews. Jasha has been invited as a Guest blogger to TJSC to help uni students hunt smarter for a position. If you are a regular reader, this could be the refresher that you need on basic job hunting.

Congratulations, you’re ready to jump into the world of job hunting. If you’ve followed my previous post carefully, you should have a concise resume and cover letter ready to go.

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Get your Job Search Mojo back

When job hunting chews up your mojo (and 8 ways to get motivated)

Let’s be honest, for most job hunters it’s a tough game out there. While many job seekers feel like they’re powerless to change their situation, the feeling of hitting brick walls while looking for that next professional gig doesn’t have to be a drainer on your mojo. Instead, here are some ways how you can recharge your job search “mojo” and reclaim your motivation. Read more

Job Hunter Timewaster practices

20 Ways you’re wasting time with your job search

Job hunting sucks. We all know that. The usual job search experiences range from seemingly unending rejections to permanent communication black holes from job sites or recruiting firms. The whole experience is definitely no fun, particularly if you are unemployed with bills to pay. Read more

5 Tips for Jobseekers with a ‘Thin’ Resume

So you need to start looking for a job, but haven’t got much to put on your resume. You could be a new job seeker, just dipping your toe into the waters for the first time. What do you put on your resume? What is good information and what is just a waste of space? Read more

Top 10 Successful Job Hunter Traits

Top 10 Successful Job Hunt Techniques [INFOGRAPHIC]

You need 10 successful job hunting and job search techniques if you want to secure a job interview. Searching for a job can be a stressful experience fraught with uncertainty. Job seeking and career changing is different for very candidate and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Some people are able to secure a new job in no time, while others seem to struggle just to get one interview. Only dogged determination, positive thinking and smart strategies will take you where want to go. Employers are looking for much more before they even consider you for a position. Some people just seem to have a gift for this sort of thing, while you’re sitting here getting nowhere. Read more

13 Essentials for Start Up Job Interviews

The 13 Essentials to Score a Startup Job Interview

So, you want to score a startup job interview, but you haven’t landed a job interview yet? I guess you need a few essentials?! Well, it’s not an easy task. Just how do you find a job at a business that may only have four or five team members and no real recruiting budget?

Well, for starters, if you’re looking at the big job sites like Seek and My Career you’re obviously looking in the wrong area.

Stop what you are doing.

My team and I have worked in the midst of over 70 Sydney-based startup’s for the last 2 years and we have helped a good number of them with their advertisement and selection process. We not only spend a good deal of time looking at candidates, profiles and the usual resumes & cover letters, we are also running a startup ourselves. So, we decided to put our heads together and we came up with this to-do list for a successful startup job search.

I’ve read many applications and the resumes that come through, and as a whole, it’s clear that most people don’t know how to approach getting a job at a startup.

Here are our 13 essentials to

score an interview with a Start Up.

1. Know what you’re good at!

Fluffing around will not get you anywhere. I know it sounds harsh, but that’s the world you are going to enter. If you are a marketer, developer or designer, list that at the top. List it in the subject line even. “Ruby on Rails Developer Looking for Early Stage Start Up” would be a good example. I should be able to glance at your cover letter and know specifically what you are looking to do. Please don’t write a career objective! Get straight to the point.

2. Your resume

If you insist on sending a resume, it should be named “yourname.pdf”. Do not wond a word doc.

3. Be creative.

One of the best cover letters (preferably in the email body) I’ve ever read said, “I’m amazing at creating buzzwords, hot tubbing and finding adventure. I’m also a kick ass Rails Developer, just coming off a long term contract. Early stage startups are a plus.” This sure as hell beats “I’m looking for a challenging and engaging environment to develop my talents.” If you are afraid to be creative, don’t apply. I have not seen a single startup who hired a ‘generalist’. I am dead serious here, if you can’t focus on something, at least in your introduction, you have a <0% chance of landing a job interview. Specialise! Customer support! QA! Development! Marketing! Intern! Product Development! Design! Get it?

4. Be real – be genuine – be human.

The worst case scenario when looking for a job is sending out resumes and getting no responses. startups tend to be different. They know how to deal with applications if you are not wasting their time. Be a human and ask questions that can be answered by friendly folks. Keep the discussion going.

5. Be clear.

You are looking for a job. Cut the buzzwords. Start Ups don’t work with ATS filtering systems. What is the best fit? Steady? Fast paced? Live in Melbourne? Just say it. Cut the c#%p.

6. Trash the traditional resume.

You really don’t need one to work at a startup. A simple email along the lines of ‘this is what I have done… I’m looking to join a team as a _________ to kick some goals’ is a great way to do it. List specific projects and accomplishments. Show that you can be to the point, effective and humble. The rest will be requested when you get an interview.

7. Comment on their blogs!

Yep – again – I am not kidding here. Most company blogs are largely lacking in comments! An easy way to get into the founders inbox is write a post about the company, saying how you admire / like them. Be genuine and say something valuable. Founders tend to look at the blogs, and if in your bio you are clear in what you are looking to do (Front End Developer!) you might just get on the expressway to an interview.

8. Email is a great way to show you’re on to it.

Reply almost immediately. The more out of the usual workday, the more important. Keep your emails concise. “Hey Lisa, just got your email. Quite late here but I would love to respond, a) b) c) d). Feel free to call if you have any questions.”

9. Have a personal blog.

I don’t care how good you are – if you don’t share – then I most likely won’t look at you. Write posts about what you specialise in. Get people to comment on it. Stand out. You control your personal brand, and if you don’t do this you are showing you don’t care.

10. Did I mention, have a personal blog?

Today. Now. Get. On. It.

11. Not caring is the #1 reason you won’t be hired at a Start Up 

12. Hack on stuff.

I’ve seen it many times. There are great fits for people and startups. When you find that special company, do what you do for them. E.g. “I know you have processes to do things like this, but I couldn’t help but see your XYZ campaign is missing some pieces. If I was there I would help by doing _______.” Consider it the interview the others were too lazy to do. When getting a job, standing out helps, a tonne. But, obviously be selective and don’t do this for every app, nor spend too much time on it.

13. Go out to Start Up events.

Meet folks there. Follow up from there. We don’t care if you are intro or extrovert – we see you – we will sort it out. Just show up and show initiative.

One last word. You are not too old to apply!

Don’t let anyone suggest that you are too old. That’s absolute nonsense! Yes, we all know … Gen X and Baby Boomer applicants tend to be more expensive than their younger counterparts. Is hiring more mature candidates a luxury that should be considered by startups often strapped for cash? In fact, I have experienced it right around me that not only can older employees contribute to startups, but failing to leverage their kind of experience has been detrimental to a number of startup companies. Hiring a Gen X or a Baby Boomer for a startup then becomes not a luxury, but a really good idea that can help provide a true competitive differentiator. Remember, startups are all about not following the rules, disruption, flexibility and being nimble. Just because, on average, the startup world is younger doesn’t mean that there aren’t places for more mature employees to shine and add real value.

So get with it, and if you think you have what it takes, apply! Keep it simple, get to the point and remember to hunt wisely.
Uli

PS. Feel free to comment or share this blog post or contact me if you want some further insight and tips.

protect your social media image

How to Prevent Recruiters from Spying on your Social Media

Whether you like it or not, recruiters, potential employers, the competition and anyone with a computer has the ability to check out your online identity. This is most common on LinkedIn, because that’s what it’s there for: a professional profile making you look all professional (and stuff). BUT it usually doesn’t stop there, as the same people are just as likely to check you out on other social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and G+

So if you want to be in the running for that dream job, make sure you stop, think and consider some, or all, of my social media career survival tips next time you post on social networks.

Social Media Monitoring and Checks

Reppler, a social media monitoring service designed to help users manage their online image, conducted a survey of 300 hiring professionals in 2013 – 2014 and found that 91% of respondents thoroughly scrutinize an applicant’s online reputation during the hiring process. Here’s an interesting infographic on the subject.

It’s safe to say that what you do on social media these days can definitely impact your career path and employability. Professionals in the hiring trade will use any tool available to avoid an egg-on-face situation before inviting you to a job interview or introducing you to their client. With this being said, you can secure your social media image with these 10 steps.

# 1 Be a Social Butterfly

Become a listed and active member of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ as this does more than just make you look like a go-getter. It helps to eliminate the possibility of undesirable and uncontrolled information about you from making its way to the top of a Google search. These sites are so popular that results from this page always rank highly. That way any unauthorized content related to you (if it exists) is less likely to make an appearance to a possible employer. Contact us if you want to know more, or simply read up on previous blog posts on the subject.

# 2 First Impressions Count

You have only a few seconds before a view forms an opinion, so ensure that your social media accounts provide the best impression of you.

Everyone can benefit from regularly reviewing their profile once in a while. You’d never go into an interview with an out-of-date CV, so why ignore your social media profiles?

Make sure your social media accounts are completed, ensure that all your profile info is accurate, up-to-date and consistent across your various social media accounts. Most importantly always double check your privacy settings! Use a recent photo where you look smart and casual and don’t forget to smile.

 # 3 Be a Social Networking Ninja

The ever-evolving nature of social networking has made it necessary to always clean up, and I mean more than just your browser history. Hide any networking nasties by pumping-up your social media security settings. That means selecting the highest privacy settings possible in all platforms in which you are active. Be aware: setting photos to ‘friends, network and friends of friends’ in Facebook is not going to keep photographic evidence of your naughties in safe hands. If any photos of you caked in beans are visible, make sure it’s you taking part in a charity event. Similarly – review the likes and events you are associated with.

Being part of a sexist or politically sensitive group or showing evidence of attending anything controversial is not likely to win you job application points. Also, check out the security settings of your friends and the stuff they are posting about you. The last thing, you want, is a clueless friend stuffing up your job applications for you. I’m not kidding, contact me anytime if you want to learn more on that subject – I am happy to assist. We have attended to many clients and showed them how important it is always to be aware of privacy settings as the activity of friends can affect your profile through image tagging and wall posting.

# 4 Be the Privacy Policy Police

From time to time, social media platforms will add new features or update their privacy terms. So, whenever you’re informed of “updates” by-way of an automatic email from your preferred social network, examine privacy settings for signs of change. Profile updates could include reformatting of such settings and introducing new options that are defaulted to whatever the social network site decides.

# 5 Toot your own horn

We all brag a bit from time to time. You just have to look at your CV to know you’re guilty of it. But why not highlight your professional and personal achievements on social media? I know what you’re thinking, you don’t want to be ‘that person’ who’s constantly bragging about their achievements, but it doesn’t hurt to be a little proud of yourself. Good things happen to those who hustle.

Highlight your achievements, post updates about your work and the results you achieve on a regular basis. Source recommendations and referrals from your existing professional contacts: especially when you are in job hunting mode.

# 6 Become a Sounding Board of Good News

It’s ok to do a little self-campaigning but don’t just focus on yourself all the time. No one is interested in being connected with someone who focuses solely on how wonderful and successful they are. Just like you’d interact with different groups, use social networks to post interesting industry news, join in and contribute in discussions and polls on topics relevant to your work or personal interests.

Be genuine and honest and likable. By placing yourself at the centre of topical industry discussions, you’ll not only raise your personal profile among your contemporaries, you’ll demonstrate your passion and engagement with your work: an attractive quality to any future employer! Talk is cheap – potential employers like to hire doer’s not just talkers.

# 7 Perform a Positive Google Bomb

This is a simple but very effective activity if you have some time to kill. Simply conduct repeated Google searches of your own name with added words that highlight achievements. This is especially effective if these searches lead to information about achievements you otherwise wouldn’t put on a resume for the sake of space. Athletic, volunteer or academic achievements are a good example of search terms to Google bomb.

# 8 Shut Up!

I know it’s a bit harsh, but seriously, how else should I describe this one? “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”. Wise words, particularly in relation to anything written online. Written content is everywhere, lasts longer than you think and can be publicly read all over the web. Don’t be tempted to reply negatively to content on Facebook, Twitter or other sites. Don’t bad mouth your employer, boss, colleagues or customers, as these comments have a nasty (yet strangely reliable) habit of being picked up and shared with the very people you’ve insulted.

Don’t allow anyone to do damage to your reputation online. Stay cool, calm, and contact the person directly to suggest that you move the discussion into a more private domain if need be. If employers check you out online, they are likely to see the fall-out of any ongoing argument, so it’s better to be seen as a peace-maker rather than the aggressor.

What about Humour?!

Be careful with humour as it is very subjective and while you may be confident enough that your joke will be appreciated by those who know you, it may be judged as extremely offensive by others, including customers, clients, and potential employers.

# 9 Trust No One and Always Double Check.

These days nothing is private. Trust no one… ever. This a bit dramatic perhaps, but seriously, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable with your parents seeing it, then it’s not appropriate to upload on any social media site. Think twice before you post any images online and always double check the settings. Remember that it’s not just the photos that you personally post that you need to worry about: you also need to keep a close eye on any photos your friends may have posted that feature you.

# 10 Protect Your Reputation Now, and Clean up with these tools.

Regularly review your social media profiles to make sure your content consists of information you would like to share with employers.

For Facebook, Secure.Me is one of many free tools that reviews content, protects profiles from dangerous links, and monitors photos and friends’ posts. If you want to know more about safe online protection tools, contact me or read up on my other blog posts. If you want to get the best image and reputation out on Google, use BrandYourSelf. They can clean up for you and ensure that Recruiters and Hiring Managers only see the very best of you , when they start snooping on Dr. Google.

So there you have it, 10 top tips on how to avoid damaging your employability while using social media. Use some, or all, of these tips and remember to not shy away from being yourself. Everyone has a unique personality, and the variations of our character are what make us special and employable. Continue sharing about yourself, just keep the above tips in mind when posting on a public site.

Share this blog post if you know a job hunter or career changer who would find this interesting and feel free to comment with your own tips and tricks.

Social Media is a great and very effective tool to enhance your job search, just always remember to hunt wisely!

Uli