“I’m giving up. I have been unemployed since January of this year, applied to a little over 500 positions, had only a handful of interviews, told I was the perfect fit a few times, followed up with thank you emails, connected with recruiters on LinkedIn, and NOTHING”. I have more than 15 years of experience in training, development and execution, specialized curriculum but finding it difficult obtain employment.”
Have you noticed messages like this on your timeline too? Job seekers (from college graduates to C-Suite executives) with years of experience/education and/or loads of talent are frustrated about their job search and they are no longer keeping a tight lip about their struggles. One thing that we can all agree on is that…
IT’S DIFFICULT TO FIND EMPLOYMENT!
Although the U.S. unemployment rate is 4.4% (as of April 2017), to some, it feels like we are still knee deep in a recession. I must say that I am quite surprised at the number of human resources and executive professionals who have chosen to publicly vent their inability to secure employment after going on multiple interviews. Many of them, holding impressive track records, have confused and dare I say “scared the masses” who believe that if they are having issues getting a job, then it must be really bad!
In my previous post, I discussed the dramatic differences in job searching then vs now. It’s just not what it used to be…there is much more to “just applying”. Yes, informing your network and having them share your “fired-up update” is one way to gain exposure and possibly obtain an opportunity that you may not have ever found on your own, however, have you thought of some additional ways to better your chances? Improving your online profile (particularly LinkedIn) and brushing up interviewing skills can help tremendously.
BREAKING DOWN LINKEDIN
If you find yourself applying to hundreds of jobs and have random people visiting your profile but not getting any “hits” or messages about your current status, then your LinkedIn profile isn’t doing its job.
Many people think that being on LinkedIn is good enough. But, if you really think about it, LinkedIn is much more than a “professional networking site”. It is a marketing tool, just like your resume, cover letter, bio, sell sheet, personal website, etc.…so sell yourself! You have a job to do, opportunities are not going to fall into your lap just because you have applied for a position through your LinkedIn account. I hate to break it to you, but, your expectations are way too high if you think that a recruiter will comb through every nook and cranny on your LinkedIn profile, just because you are on LinkedIn.
The most viewed sections of your LinkedIn profile can “make or break you” so be sure that they are in line with what is expected. Let’s take a look at what each section signifies.
Profile Picture = Are you Likable, Competent, Influential, Friendly, Employable? These are the typical 5 components that employers/connectors are looking for in a profile picture. Your profile is 14x more likely to be viewed if you have one that exudes these characteristics.
Summary = Who are you and what’s your story? Don’t go off on a tangent sharing your whole life story, only what is relevant to the jobs/companies that you wish to attract and/or the people you hope to connect with.
Experience = Not to include every single bullet from your job description or resume; instead, include accomplishments or a summarized paragraph of descriptions.
Education = Solidifies that you have been academically trained and understand the general concept within your field or that you meet the requirements of the position.
Volunteerism/Causes = Shows what you are passionate about.
Recommendations = Provides a testimony of your deliverables, work ethic, and overall character.
Your experience, education, and volunteer experiences could be some great conversation starters; especially if the recruiter or hiring manager shares similar information on their profile.
While you’re online complaining, annoyed, tired of going through hundreds of job applications on LinkedIn and connecting with other professionals, be sure that your profile vividly tells your story and entices the visitor.
Most often, we think it’s them, not us. If you were a hiring manager searching for a candidate to work at your organization, wouldn’t you search for one who seems to fit the culture and qualifications? Recruiters and Hiring Managers alike view LinkedIn profiles as a one-stop shop…EXCITE THEM! Although you may be submitting a captivating cover letter and beautifully created resume, it still escapes the ability to show your true character.
Ask a friend/colleague/family member to read your LinkedIn profile, summarize who you are professionally, and what they can expect from you if you were an employee of XYZ company. Then, review questions 1-10 (below), take a look at your profile and see what’s missing. Chances are, if you’re not “wowing” yourself (or them), you are boring the employer.
1. What does your profile picture say about you? Are you displaying a clear professional photo? Remember, pictures that you would normally post on other social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are not appropriate for LinkedIn. Unprofessional photos include car/bathroom selfies, photo with pet/friends/family, party pictures, vacation pictures, etc.
2. Does your headline reflect the value that you can deliver?
3. Does your summary reiterate the information that is already on your resume?
4. Have you summarized your accomplishments and how you intend to make contributions to a potential employer in your summary?
5. Have you joined groups and responded to inquiries made within those groups or delivered content to help the members of the group?
6. Are you frequently posting content and can your connections benefit from the information that you have shared?
7. Are you engaging your connections on their posts with thought-provoking conversations or positive feedback?
8. Are you directly emailing solutions to the decision-makers of the company that you would like to work for?
9. Are you displaying projects, publications, slide shares, or work photos on your profile?
10. Does your profile display recommendations from past employers or colleagues about the amazing work that you’ve done?
SHOW AND PROVE
I find that many of the job seekers who are “venting” on social media have been in their previous roles for 5+ years and often wondered, do they even remember how to interview? If you were employed in your role for a while, chances are that your interviewing skills are not up to par with today’s standards. Let me ask you a few questions…
1. Are you researching the company before your interview? Do you feel like you will fit into the company’s culture, vision, and mission?
2. Do you know the key players of the organization?
3. Have you practiced interviewing questions and are you confident in your answers?
4. Have you researched salary history prior to the interview? Why? Just in case the question comes up you should be able to answer it firmly without wavering.
5. Is your “employment history gap story” intact? Are you stunned at the “I see your last job was xx months/year ago” statement?
Take a look at this article I did a while back. It will give you some great pointers on how to interview the interviewer.
Begin practicing situational and behavioral interview questions with a friend or family member the first time around then record yourself during the 2nd practice session. Thereafter, watch the recording and take notes of your body language, speech, the tone of your answers. See what you can improve and implement immediately.
If you’ve found that “letting it all go” on LinkedIn works for you…then Kudos to you! For others who wish to remain discreet but want more actionable steps to take to get better results, update your LinkedIn profile and connect with me. I have helped numerous job seekers over the past 15 years develop action plans, build relationships, and achieve results.