Tis The Season . . . to find a new job

Just because your office may be winding down for the holidays doesn’t mean your job hunt should. In fact, the holidays are a great time to ramp up your job search.

Here’s why:

Party Time: Although your crazy uncle’s holiday party may not always be the highlight of the season, he’s the most connected man in town. Be the first to arrive, wear your best suit and your biggest smile. Most conversations start with “what do you do?” Happy hunting!

Down Time: After you’ve finished wrapping gifts and partying with the best of them, you may actually have some down time. Instead of watching A Christmas Story for the 100th time, beef up your resume, peruse LinkedIn, contact your recruiter and if you feel really inspired, start preparing for your Killer Interview.

New Jobs in the New Year: With budgets approved and a solid hiring strategy in place for the New Year, many companies start their employee search in November and December. Schedules also open up during the holiday season, so getting face time with the executive team may be a reality. Don’t forget to get your power suit pressed for all of your interviews!

While everyone is sipping on egg nog and recovering from the holiday haze, you’ll be sending out thank you cards to your new connections from your crazy uncle’s holiday party and inviting them to connect on LinkedIn. With any luck, your efforts will be rewarded and you’ll start the New Year off with a bang as the newest hire at your dream job!

Share your holiday hire successes with us below!

I’m Not Old: 5 Tips for the Seasoned Candidate

When asked about her age, a friend of mine always replies, “I feel young so my actual age is irrelevant.” If only you could put that as your birth date on a job application. The fact is, as much as we’d like to think people don’t judge candidates based on age, we know that many times employers do. Here are some smart ways to fight ageism in the workforce:

You are experienced. Walk into that interview with your head held high.
This isn’t your first rodeo. You know how to sell a prospect; what gets a contract signed and what gets you in the door. You can lead others and mentor a younger team that will relish your experience and learn from it.

Technology is your friend.
LinkedIn – utilize it. Mastering this tool debunks the theory that only young folks know how to use social media. LinkedIn is the ideal place to showcase your impressive experience. Reach out to previous employers and peers to write recommendations on your behalf. You can build a vast network because you’ve been in the workforce for years. With a comprehensive profile, you’ll garner the attention you deserve.

Time is on your side.
Most likely, your children are grown or nearly there so your personal demands are lighter than younger professionals. Not that you want to work all the time, but knowing you are available can be a big bonus for a potential employer.

You’re efficient.
You know how to do your job; you’ve been doing it for years. You get to work on time and stay until the job is done. Being older doesn’t mean you are slower, just smarter than those who are less experienced and most likely less efficient. You can get your job done quickly because you know what works and what doesn’t.

You’re happy.
You know what makes you happy. You don’t need your employer to provide cocktail hours, counseling or field days at the workplace. You’ve already found happiness in your work, your home life and other things that fill your days.

Now stop feeling like a dinosaur and embrace who you really are – a knowledgeable, seasoned professional!

From Fired to Hired: 5 Tips for the Recently Unemployed

So you got fired. While it’s natural to feel like a failure, don’t. There are plenty of successful people who have been in your shoes – Oprah, Walt Disney; even Steve Jobs was fired from his own company!

During her commencement speech at Wake Forest University, Jill Abramson, the recently ousted executive editor of the New York Times, recalled something her father used to say. “It meant more…to see us deal with a setback and try to bounce back, than watch how we handled our success.” Makes sense.

What matters now is how you overcome this hurdle. With the right approach, you can end up in a better position than before. Here’s how you can start turning things around.

Make Nice

However tempting, don’t burn any bridges. You want the reputation that precedes you to be a positive one. Keep the lines of communication open with colleagues. You never know when you’ll work with them again.

Get Praise

Line up your references; you’re going to need them. Round up at least three good ones. If possible, make one of those from your most recent employer – even if they weren’t your direct supervisor. This should help dispel any negativity surrounding your recent dismissal.

Work On Yourself

This is a good moment to reflect. Are there things you can do to make yourself a better professional? Whether it’s taking a class, achieving a new certification or refining your presentation skills, now is the time to do it. Who knows? It could pave the way to your next job.

Look Good On Paper

And online. And in person. Polish your resume and social media profiles. You don’t have to start explaining employment gaps just yet. Be ready for interviews. Dust off that power suit and practice running through typical interview questions – including why you left your last job.

Get Out

Hit the pavement. Let it be known that you’re looking. Don’t be ashamed. Leverage social media. Reach out to former colleagues, classmates, clients and recruiters – anyone who can help you find a job. Try to meet in person. Network over coffee, lunch or happy hour. Remember, your next job offer will come from someone, not some job board.

Looking for a recruiter to help you land a new high-tech sales role? Contact us.

Setting Yourself Up For Social Media Success

Did you know that over 60 percent of IT hiring managers screened their job candidates via social networking sites or online search engines, according to a CareerBuilder study? While it’s common sense to keep your social media profiles business casual, are you maximizing your professional online presence? Here’s how to leverage the top social media outlets to your advantage.

LinkedIn

Whether you’re hiring or being hired, professionals use LinkedIn as their go-to informal screening tool. So, first impressions are crucial. First, make sure your profile is 100 percent complete. Get and give some endorsements and recommendations. This should fill in any gaps that can cause an eyesore. Then, grow your network. Follow companies and thought leaders in your field and connect with colleagues and clients from your past and present. Join some industry groups and engage in discussions. Make a post from time to time. You don’t necessarily need to frequent LinkedIn every day, but at least make sure all your information is up to date and you have a profile picture. People like to see there is a real person behind all those qualifications.

Twitter

While Twitter may seem confusing (hashtags, at signs and those darn 140-character limits), it’s actually a great resource to aggregate up-to-the-minute (seconds, really) media in your industry. Like LinkedIn, you can follow thought leaders and companies that interest you and organize them by lists. Twitter gives you the opportunity to become a thought leader yourself and grow your own list of followers. If this is your intent, it’s imperative you stay active tweeting and retweeting. You won’t attract any new followers with a stale feed.

Facebook

If your intent is to keep Facebook strictly for fun, take some precautions. Make sure your profile and cover photos are presentable – those are public. Check your privacy settings and set them so that only you and/or your friends can see your posts. You can also limit who can search for your profile or ask to become your friend. You should also review all the posts you are tagged in before they are posted to your timeline.

More Social Media

If you have other social media profiles, such as Google+, Instagram and Pinterest, make sure they paint a positive portrait of you as well. You can turn on your privacy setting in Instagram and Twitter to screen potential followers. Beyond saving face, you can develop your own professional portfolio website and/or blog to bolster your online presence. Just remember, social media is there to help you be a better professional but it’s okay to have a little fun with it too.

Are you on LinkedIn? Connect with me.

Overcoming Long-term Employment Gaps

Spent a prolonged time out of the work force? The reasons can range from voluntary – like taking time off to be a stay-at-home parent or travel – to involuntary – such as dealing with a medical emergency or being laid off. While it may seem undesirable, your gap in employment doesn’t mean you’re unhirable. Here are three ways you can close the gap.

On paper

You can do a bit of visual trickery to your CV/resume to downplay gaps in employment. Enter the years you were employed, rather than using the standard month/year format. You can also use a smaller font size and not bold your employment dates. Some candidates with extended unemployment find that structuring their resumes functionally, rather than chronologically, help with filling in holes. By focusing on accomplishments and skills, rather than the amount of time spent at a job, they’re able to highlight attributes that attract hiring managers. It’s also perfectly acceptable to only focus on the past 10-15 years and omit any unrelated work experience.

Online

Leverage social media as much as you can. The more bait you put out there, the better your chances of reeling in an interview. LinkedIn is great because it’s essentially another outlet for your CV/resume – and recruiters often use it to fish for talent. LinkedIn does use a chronological, month/date format to showcase work experience, which doesn’t help with long unemployment gaps. But, you can plug up holes by explaining what you did during that time. If you were a homemaker, say it. If you volunteered, write that down. There are marketable skills, such as budgeting, management and teamwork, that are applicable for many jobs.

In person

Chances are, you probably won’t be asked about an unemployment gap that’s under six months. If you are asked about your unemployment gap at the interview, don’t skirt around the issue. Just be natural, direct and brief in your response. Then, swiftly move on to the next topic of conversation.

Need some reassurance that a gap in employment will result in automatic rejection? James Caan, a successful entrepreneur and business thought leader recently said, “I am always more interested in the abilities and characteristics of an individual — if they haven’t been in work for a while but have the quality my company needs, I will hire them.”

Were you out of work for a while? Do you have any tips to share about getting back to work? We’d love to hear from you.