Do You Really Want To Network on Linkedin.com?

As a recruiter I regularly conduct searches on Linkedin.com.  Often times the results come up with several hundred matches for talented individuals – both employed and not who have the qualifications for a position I am seeking to fill.  I then send an email to the person explaining who I am and that I know of a job in ABC industry for XYZ Company.  If they’d like to hear about more about the job – either for them or someone they know I provide my email address and my Linkedin.com profile page for review to ensure my credibility.

Most Linkedin.com profiles say that they are interested in being contacted for career opportunities or job inquiries.  You’ve set up your User Network Settings to show up on your profile page to read: 

Interested In

  • consulting offers
  • new ventures
  • expertise requests
  • business deals
  • reference requests
  • getting back in touch

 Really?  Then why is it you don’t provide a way on your profile page to contact you?

How many of you have used a work email address when you set up your Linkedin account to then be laid off?  Come on, the unemployment rate in the United States is higher than it has been in 26 years (www.marketwatch.com).  If this didn’t happen to you then you know someone who it has.  I know, I know, I’ve heard it all before…There is not enough time in the day, too much to do and you are tired of being inundated with spam email. Did you realize that you were also blocking your next possible career move?

In deciding how other LinkedIn users may contact you, take care not to exclude contacts inadvertently that you might find professionally valuable.  Did you know that your profile came up in my search results but I didn’t have a way to contact you?

There is no easier way to keep up with your contact list than a linkedin.com profile.  So when you change your home email provider or switch jobs and/or companies, you still have full access to the people you have met along the way.  Whether it was someone you worked with in the beginning of your career, your neighbor’s friend, or a casual conversation at a sporting event, you never thought this person could add any value.  This contact may be the one to introduce you the job of your dreams years from now.  No matter where you live or work, or how many times you change email addresses or phone numbers over the years you can keep your Linkedin.com profile up to date in one easy and convenient place.  There is no shooting out mass emails to notify your contacts of your change.  So spend 10 minutes a week adding contacts to your Linkedin.com profile.  And if you don’t have a personal email, set up a free account through hotmail, yahoo, or google (gmail).     

But please…add a way to contact you on your Linkedin.com profile.

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Today’s Keys to Landing Your Dream Job

This is not your father’s job market. Finding a job is different than it’s always been and if you want to land that dream job these days, you have to approach it differently. It’s a jungle out there; submitting a resume to a company makes it one in about 400 resumes they receive for a job opening. No matter how good you are, it’s difficult to work your way up to the top of the pile. All the rules about experience and accomplishments still hold true today but there are two additional keys to landing that dream job.

Ben Paramore

 One is differentiation. Of all the many candidates being considered, you must stand out. There must be something different about you that sets you apart. A resume on colored paper is not what I’m talking about. It’s a skill set, trait, experience, etc. that makes you different. Most of us have differentiators but lack the ability or knowledge on how to sell them to the job market. You must sell yourself on how you are different and learning how should be your top priority. “Same” is dull and “dull” is bad in the job market. The last reaction you want to your resume is “Yuk”, the next to the last is “So What”.

The other key to landing your desired job is proactive career positioning. These days if you wait until you need a job, you are way behind. You find the best positions because you are known for something. You become known for something by networking and proving yourself over time. Career positioning is different than job searching and you should always be career positioning, even if you’re totally happy in your current job. Get out there and get to know people and get people to know who you are and what you know. Being in a position to be called on for a position opening beats searching for a job any day. And that’s how a lot of the best jobs are filled.

Ben Paramore is a financial executive and business blogger at www.BeyondBeans.net

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The Resume “Black Hole”

Not getting any response on your resume? Feel like every time you send your resume it just goes off into cyber space?

Guess what?  It is!  One of the most common frustrations of job seekers is that they are sending out tons of emails, applying on-line and can’t get any traction on their resume.  Know who they blame?  The recruiter.  You’re right.  It really is my fault that you aren’t the most qualified person for the job, especially now that the unemployment rate hit over 9%, the highest in more than 25 years (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

In the current economy, the candidate pool is very competitive.  It would be impossible for any Recruiter to respond to every resume submittal.  Generally speaking when a job seeker submits a resume it is being forwarded into a database.  Unless the resume has critical key words that match the job description keywords, the resume may never get a 15 second glance over.  A job seeker should re-work your resume to match EVERY job description you apply for.

IMPORTANT NOTE – I am not suggesting you lie on your resume. PLEASE DON’T!!!!

What I am suggesting is that if you have experience in ANY of the areas that are listed on the job description then make sure it ends up in your resume.  You don’t want to miss any opportunity to showcase your skills.   The issue is not “Can you DO the job?” but “Does your resume tell YOUR story to the hiring committee?”  Improve your curb appeal and rework your resume to include keywords in a way that’s truthful, relevant, and quantifiably impactful for every submittal.

Today, I participated in a group discussion on Linkedin.com that was the motivation for finally writing this post, since it has been on my mind for so long.  The group comments were very informative (although common). Should I have expanded on WHY it is important to match the keywords?  Maybe.  Why didn’t I?  Because a job seeker can’t and doesn’t need to understand how each and every recruiter, agency, staffing service or HR department’s internal operations work.  If one recruiter suggests that your resume should be in a functional format and another suggests it should be chronological format, rework it.  After all, we do get paid to know what the client is looking for.

Some potential future blog post topics that this discussion also hit on may include:

  • Different types of Recruiters – what they do and how they can help you (and why don’t they keep you informed?)
  • You are networking and using social media in your job search but it just doesn’t work.  Tips how to use your resources (especially Linkedin.com) to network effectively.

So be sure to check back and see my next soap box may be.  Your feedback and comments are not only welcome but much appreciated.

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Tips For Successfully Working With a Recruiter

Looking for a job is a full time job. Many job seekers reach out to a recruiter or two in hopes of taking some of the leg work off themselves. So many job seekers don’t really understand what recruiters do so they generally have a lot of misconceptions of what it is we can do to help you in your search.

Please understand that there is more than one type of recruiter out there. Generally speaking there are three main categories of recruiters – contingent, retained, and corporate, with of course, sub-categories within of each of those. The following is a general description of each:

  • Corporate recruiters are internal employees of a company whose main responsibility is to screen through and filter out unqualified candidates as per the job description requirements. Corporate recruiters are not involved in the budgeting or head count process. They are not responsible for the actual hiring decision. Even many hiring managers don’t understand that it is not a corporate recruiter’s job to fill a position but to help the hiring manager fill their staffing need. A corporate recruiter is not the same as an HR Generalist who often times has some recruiting responsibilities in addition to things like employee relations, benefits, and payroll.
  • Contingent recruiters act as an independent contact between their client companies and the job seekers/candidates. In most cases contingent recruiters compete against many other firms to fill the positions they work on and they get paid only when their candidate is hired and starts working at the client company. Some contingent recruiters are large agencies with a database of resumes. Some are independent individuals who sometimes have the ability to develop a more personal relationship with the candidates they recruit.
  • Retained recruiters also act as an independent contact between their client companies and candidates but they work as an exclusive vendor on the positions they recruit for. They receive a retainer (up-front fee) to perform a specific search for a company, normally at the senior and greater than six figure level salaries.

Based on information I have learned from frustrated job seekers and candidates over the years, here are some important things to remember:

  • There are good recruiters and bad recruiters. Sometimes you have some frustrating experiences to find a good one. Don’t let them give the rest of the industry a bad name.
  • In most situations, the job-seeker is NOT the recruiter’s customer, the organization is since they pay the bills.
  • A recruiter does not ‘get’ you a job. Their role is to work with the client, understand their need and find the best match to fit that spot. Basically to find a square peg to fit in a square hole. Not only does the peg have to be square but it also has to fit perfectly.
  • Personality does play a part! You may be the most qualified person as per the requirements on paper but you need to mesh with the hiring manager, the team and the organization as a whole.
  • Please realize that recruiters sometimes struggle to get feedback from hiring managers just like candidates do. If a recruiter is not calling you back it often means they just don’t know what to tell you or there just wasn’t any specific feedback to give. General rule, if the client company doesn’t respond in a reasonable time frame then it is most likely not a good sign and you would be wise to invest your time and efforts elsewhere.

To help you identify a recruiter you may want to work with keep in mind:

  • Recruiters can best help those that have some specialization in their career. Someone that has a very varied background is not as likely to make as much progress working with a recruiter.
  • Find a recruiter that specializes in your job-function and industry. They will be more likely to have opportunities that are appropriate for you.
  • Not all recruiters know about all job openings.
  • A recruiter based in a specific city does not imply they make placements in that city.
  • It is your responsibility as a job seeker to track where you have applied and been submitted.
  • If a recruiter recognizes your number on caller id you might be calling just a little too much!
  • And personality still plays a part. You should be able to easily develop a rapport and build a relationship with your recruiter.

Just as you are interviewing with a company, you should first interview the recruiter to find out a little about them and if and how they can help you. Here are a few suggestions of questions you can ask:

o How long they have been in the recruiting business?

o How long have they been recruiting in your specific industry?

o What is their relationship with the client company and hiring manager?

o How many placements they have made in general/at that company in the last year?

o Why were they interested in speaking to you?

Bottom line, a recruiter is just a piece of the puzzle in your job search, not the whole puzzle.

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Is Outsourcing Human Resources an Option for Your Company?

In today’s economy, companies are looking for new ways to reduce costs and increase productivity.  While outsourcing IT and other functions have been widely accepted as a means by which to bring in expert help for a reasonable cost, outsourcing human resource functions has been an area less companies have explored.

Last week, I met with Cindy Boyles, co-founder and President Carciba Business Services (www.carciba.com).  Cindy graduated from Georgia Tech and has more than 19 years experience working with companies in the high-tech arena as well as financial services, civil and structural engineering, healthcare, marketing, logistics and printing among others.

With both of Carciba’s founders having worked in the outsourcing capacity, they were eager to take the best practices of HR Outsourcing and create their own business model.  Combining over 30 years experience across various industries, including Fortune 100 companies, Carciba’s founders concentrate on manager/director level HR support to emerging and established companies.

Interview with Cindy Boyles, co-founder and President of Carciba Business Services, Inc.

Color logo

Who can benefit from outsourcing human resources responsibilities? Most often companies of 20 to 500 employees who need human resources support but do not want or need to hire a senior level position on a full time basis.

What are some catalysts for outsourcing? Growth decline, attracting the best employees, keeping the best employees but most importantly, SAVING MONEY!

How do your client companies benefit from utilizing this model versus a PEO? A PEO is a Professional Employer Organization who becomes the employer of record for tax and insurance purposes, filing paperwork under its own identification numbers. These can be helpful for organizations starting out who need someone to handle the human resource administrative functions for their company or companies who are too small to provide insurance benefits to their employees on their own. Typically billing is based on a percentage of payroll, and as the company grows so do the expenses associated with the PEO.  Some of the PEO fees may also be hidden within the benefit costs or taxes as well.

Conversely, Carciba’s billing is handled on a straight forward hourly basis. We offer the ability to bill our clients by the hour versus per head. This results in dramatic financial savings and expense control for growing companies. Our fees are transparent and not built into benefits or payroll so the company retains control and flexibility over the budget.In terms of experience, all of our team members have years of HR experience and can step in and handle employee issues from day one.

How would this work in my environment? Carciba’s outsourcing business model is flexible – if there is no HR presence within the company, we often work in the forefront and act as the HR Department so the management team can stay focused on core business activities.  For the clients that have an existing HR Representative on staff, we work with them in the background and offer experience, education/certifications, knowledge, protection, and most importantly success.

What do I need for look for in an outsourcing firm? Ask to meet the HR representative that will support your firm, and not only the Salesperson.  You should review their resume.  Do they have 15 years experience or 2?  Experience equals knowledge.  That in turn saves you money in terms of work spent on a project and can prohibit issues within your company resulting in an unfortunate lawsuit.  Billing structure is a key deciding factor.  Are the fees transparent or are they built into your benefits, payroll and taxes?

Bottom line – human capital typically makes up 80% of a company’s expenses.  Solid well defined HR practices will assure that you are getting the most of your employees, and of your investment.

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Networking: It’s a Mindset. Do it BEFORE You Need to

ATLANTA, GA. The number one resource for new hires is referrals – not job boards.  It always has been and continues to be.  Unfortunately, most people don’t start building a network or asking for help until they are already unemployed and looking for work.  Too late. Build your personal network – both face to face and on-line and CONTINUE building it while you are employed.  So when you find yourself in a job search again – most of us either have recently or will in the near future – you will have a larger network to work with.  Make it a mindset, not a forced activity.

The reality is that networking shouldn’t be something you do occasionally or feverishly for one month, it should be the way you build and maintain professional relationships on an on-going basis.

Many “old school” networking techniques still apply but use modern technology to make it work to your advantage.  You don’t have to be on My Space, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and every other social medium.  Although a  successful job search strategy will consist of both an online and an offline approach. Successful networking requires that you have as many contacts as possible hear your story, so they realize you are in the job market.   The easiest way to organize and keep up with your contacts and his/her happenings is Linkedin.com.  It takes 5 minutes to set up your profile.  Pretty much just cut and paste your resume.  Then put 10 minutes a day or one hour a week finding old connections and engaging new ones.

Tips for using Linkedin.com to your advantage:

  • Use your personal email address and not a business one.  In the event your business email is cut off unexpectedly, you will still have access to your online network.
  • Invest time and effort making new connections that will drive business (now and in the future).
    • Search for professors, friends, neighbors, relatives, former employers, former and current coworkers,  potential mentors, even competitors
    • Connect with professionals those in your network recommend
  • Be sure to personalize your linkedin profile url with your name.
  • Use your network not only to learn but convey how you can help others.  It’s better to give than receive.
    • Join groups
    • Post thought provoking discussions within those groups
    • Make comments on other people’s thought provoking discussions – be sure to sign your name and linkedin.com profile url
  • When you apply for a job, search linkedin for other people who work at that company.  You’d be surprised who you know and whom they know and that they are actually willing to help.
  • Be cognizant of the fact that many, if not most, job openings aren’t advertised. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work. Ask if they can help.
  • Focus on the quality of the participation (numbers help, too).

Remember that each person you meet is a potential lead.  Networking isn’t something for the “to do” list,  but it is something that you should do.

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Atlanta Staffing & Recruiting Consultant Blog Coming Soon!

Invite me to connect on Linkedin:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulawood.

Send invitation to PaulaWoodInc@comcast.net.

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