How to Battle the Unemployment Blues

Being unemployed for long periods of time can understandably have a negative impact on your job outlook. Actively participating in resume blasts without getting so much as an acknowledgement from hiring managers is discouraging. As the process goes on, and you continue to fail during your search for employment, you may develop the unemployment blues.

The unemployment blues is a common condition that haunts job seekers. It’s a condition that plagues job seekers by taking away their hope and optimism, as the idea of finding a job becomes less and less of a possibility. The bad news? Your job search will take a major hit if you attack it with the unemployment blues. However, the good news is, you can battle the blues to regain control of your job search! The first step of doing that is to stay positive. It’s hard to do, but it’s something that must be done if you are going to have any job search success.

Along with having a positive attitude as a job seeker, here are some other ways to battle the blues:

Find motivation

This may sound obvious, but a great way to lose the blues is to stay motivated. We recently posted a motivational video on the GetInterviews Facebook page. The most important quote from the video is “if you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.” The truth is, failing is a good thing. If you didn’t fail, you would never need to better yourself. Find out what motivates you and leverage it in your job search.

Learn a skill

When you’re unemployed, it’s easy to lose focus. Don’t take your eye off the prize. In fact, stay sharp by teaching yourself a new skill that will help you in your job search. Whether you learn on your own, take an online class or even volunteer at an industry event, you will better yourself by expanding on what you have to offer.

LinkedIn is a helpful social network that will allow you to stay up-to-date on industry news. See what’s going on in your industry, interact with people, learn from the experts and start contributing to the conversation.

Stay fit

Stay fit! If you’re unemployed for long periods of time, consider evaluating your mental and physical health. If you find yourself with a lot of time, join a gym or go for daily jogs. The stress from being unemployed can be taxing on your body. Combat that by doing what you can to stay fit, eat healthy and feel good about yourself. This will help you maintain a positive image.

Consult an expert

If you’re submitting tons of resumes and still aren’t getting any interviews, it may be what you’re presenting to employers. Consider having a resume writing professional take a look at your resume. Experts know how to make your resume stand out and they also have a plethora of experience in the job search field. Contact an expert who can give you a free resume review and go from there. You’ll be surprised with some of the helpful feedback.

Networking and support

Don’t forget, in today’s job world, ‘who you know’ still matters. Networking is extremely powerful, so get out there and meet new people! Volunteering at an industry event will also help you meet new people in the industry. Networking can also help you acquire the support you need to stay positive. One of the worst things you can do when unemployed is become anti-social. Use your support system as a way to remain optimistic about the job search.

Remember: STAY POSITIVE. Don’t let unemployment get you down. Using these tips, you’ll be ready to attack the job search again in no time!

How to Network like a Champion

No matter what your job search strategy is, if networking isn’t included in your game-plan, you’ve already reduced your chances of getting the interview you desire. While an impressive resume and cover letter will undoubtedly set you apart from other candidates, knowing an influential person on the inside is a strong way to land the interview. As a result, today’s job search proves that ‘who you know’ is still an important factor. Therefore, it’s time to brush up on your networking skills!

Although a lot of job seekers understand the important benefits of networking, not many know how to network effectively. Good networking occurs when the networker masters the balance of talking and listening, in an effort to build a lasting impression. It’s no secret that people love to talk about themselves, but when making a connection with a person of influence, being an active listener will do more for you. Keeping this in mind, here are a few tips that will help you network like a champion:

Take it easy on the drinks

First things first, make sure you limit your drinks. Yes, it’s a social event, but it certainly isn’t a party. Nothing is worse than trying to connect with someone when you’re intoxicated. You may slur your words or even smell like booze. It’s common sense, but if you are going to be drinking, make sure you do so in moderation. 

Ask questions and prove your worth with solutions

A talented networker is one that comes equipped with thought provoking questions. A good question to ask someone is: What is your greatest industry challenge? Not only does this question make the respondent explain his/her answer in-depth, it also shows that you are someone who cares to learn more about his/her struggle. An even more talented networker will explain how he/she would solve those industry problems. However, remember that being an active listener is more beneficial than being an active talker.

Get to know everyone

Some networkers will research the guest list prior to attending an event. They do this with the intention of learning everything they can about a guest and using their findings to their advantage. While this can be a good strategy, make sure you don’t overlook everyone else in the room. You should make it a point to get around the room while conversing with as many people as you can. Even if you don’t have the same industry in common, you may be able to connect with someone through common interests. You never know what that can do for your job search in the future.

Help yourself by helping others

As a job seeker, you’re understandably thinking about bettering your own position prior to attending a networking event. But what can help you make a lasting impression is what you can do for someone else. Maybe you know someone that can provide a business solution to the person you are networking with. If it’s okay, introduce them to each other. If any occasion for you to help someone presents itself, it would be beneficial for you to jump at the opportunity. Volunteering is a great example. Not only is volunteering another good way to show that you care about the well-being of others, but you can also use your experiences to connect with people who may be influential to you in the future.  

Bring business cards and follow up

No matter where you go, you should always carry a few business cards in your wallet. However, at a networking event, you should carry a lot more than a ‘few.’ A business card is the all-important sign of professionalism when networking. It will also help connections remember your name. Distributing them to the appropriate people will help you in your following-up efforts.

Following-up shows that you are serious about maintaining connections and having discussions. Whether it’s an e-mail or a phone call, follow-up with the people you meet as a way to show your appreciation for meeting them. Using social media is also a good way to follow-up with people.

Using these tips, you’ll be networking like a champion in no time!

The Truth about Creative Resumes

I often come across posts about the most ‘creative resume designs’ and how they can help the job seeker stand out. As LinkedIn is a valuable job search resource, I noticed that questions on the platform were revolved around creative resumes and the level of creativity one should implement into his/her own resume.

As the debate grows larger, and job seekers are uncertain of which direction to go with their own resumes, there are a few things to keep in mind about graphically-creative resumes. Sure they look nice, and a creative resume may help you stand out – but for most employers, you’ll be standing out for the wrong reasons.

It can be very tricky for employers to read a creative resume. That alone should be enough for you to stick to a traditional resume. But if not, here are some more creative resume downfalls:

The ATS doesn’t like it

If the hiring manager is going to have a hard time reading your graphically-creative resume, you can be certain an applicant tracking system (ATS) will. Many corporations utilize an ATS to screen their applicants. An ATS will scan your resume for certain words or phrases, but if it can’t read your resume, chances are your resume won’t even make it to the hands of a hiring manager. Do you want to take that risk?

The hiring manager doesn’t like it

Once your resume beats the ATS, it’s in the hands of the employer. Make sure your resume is easy enough for hiring managers to locate key information. Hiring managers know what they are looking for and they know where to find it on resumes. A visually-creative resume tends to mess with the presentation of information on your resume – and guess what? Employers do not like that! No matter what experience you have, if a hiring manager cannot find what he/she is looking for, your resume will most likely land in the garbage.

A strong argument that supports the creative resume is when you are applying for a position in a graphic design or other creative field. The best practice would be to send a traditional resume to the employer that includes a link back to your creative portfolio. If you need to have a creative resume, make sure you send a traditional resume with it just in case.

The loss of professionalism through simplicity

The truth is, a resume is a business document. It should stand as your intent to do business with the employer. Don’t forget, you are selling your brand. Therefore, you want to be as professional as possible. Professionalism begins with a well-formatted resume. Employers know where to look for the information they need to distinguish you from other candidates. Don’t make it difficult for them to make that distinction.

Creative resumes are very pretty – we agree! But as a job seeker, the traditional resume is always your safest bet.

The Worst Cover Letter Ever – How to avoid being THAT Guy

If you happened to miss it, there is a cover letter circulating the Internet about what has been coined by some as the “worst cover letter in the world.” The cover letter written by an NYU junior has quickly gone viral, initially within big name Wall Street banks and now spreading across mainstream media. 

Here is the original cover letter:

1/23/2012
J.P. Morgan
Dear Sir or Madame:
I am an ambitious undergraduate at NYU triple majoring in Mathematics, Economics, and Computer Science. I am a punctual, personable, and shrewd individual, yet I have a quality which I pride myself on more than any of these.
I am unequivocally the most unflaggingly hard worker I know, and I love self-improvement. I have always felt that my time should be spent wisely, so I continuously challenge myself; I left Villanova because the work was too easy. Once I realized I could achieve a perfect GPA while holding a part-time job at NYU, I decided to redouble my effort by placing out of two classes, taking two honors classes, and holding two part-time jobs. That semester I achieved a 3.93, and in the same time I managed to bench double my bodyweight and do 35 pull-ups.
I say these things only because solid evidence is more convincing than unverifiable statements, and I want to demonstrate that I am a hard worker. J.P. Morgan is a firm with a reputation that precedes itself and employees who represent only the best and rightest in finance. I know that the employees in this firm will push me to excellence, especially within the Investment Banking division. In fact, one of the supporting reasons I chose Investment Banking over any other division was that I know it is difficult. I hope to augment my character by diligently working for the professionals at Morgan Stanley, and I feel I have much to offer in return.
I am proficient in several programming languages, and I can pick up a new one very quickly. For instance, I learned a years worth of Java from NYU in 27 days on my own; this is how I placed out of two including: Money and Banking, Analysis, Game Theory, Probability and Statistics. Even further, I am taking Machine Learning and Probabilistic Graphical Modeling currently, two programming courses offered by Stanford, so that I may truly offer the most if I am accepted. I am proficient with Bloomberg terminals, excellent with excel, and can perform basic office functions with terrifying efficiency. I have plenty of experience in the professional world through my internship at Merrill Lynch, and my research assistant position at NYU. In fact, my most recent employer has found me so useful that he promoted me to a Research Assistant and an official CTED intern. This role is usually reserved for Masters students, but my employer gave the title to me so that he could give me more work.
Please realize that I am not a braggart or conceited, I just want to outline my usefulness. Egos can be a huge liability, and I try not to have one.
Thank you so much for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Best,
Mark
 

So where do you think Matt went wrong?

1.  Matt underestimated the importance and power of an effective cover letter. If he had taken his cover letter more seriously, maybe he could have prevented the disaster he is dealing with right now.

This is a crucial time for college students looking for highly competitive summer analyst positions with leading banks in New York City’s financial district. As a triple major in Mathematics, Economics and Computer Science, Matt appears to have the credentials as a promising candidate. Unfortunately a cover letter can make or break your chances.

2. A cover letter should be centralized around the company instead of around you. Matt’s entire cover letter solely broadcasted his abilities and he also managed to do it in a manner that lacked humility and composure.

Matt’s crass approach earned him the title of Wall Street laughing stock among companies like Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Citi just to name a few.

3. Proof and double check your cover letters before you attach them to your resume. Regardless of how impeccable your resume may be, a careless mistake in your cover letter can be the factor that keeps you on the unemployment line.

Among the syntax errors in Matt’s cover letter, he also addresses Morgan Stanley at one point, indicating that either he isn’t paying attention to what should be an important task or he is circulating a generic cover letter and missed that correction before sending it.

Now we can’t be too hard on Matt, everyone has succumbed to these mistakes at least once. Writing a cover letter and developing a resume that highlights your skills and background is not only difficult, but it can be nerve-racking.

If you want to tackle the job search with a cover letter you have written on your own, follow these tips.

Cover Letter Do’s & Don’ts

Do attach a cover letter to each resume you submit. A survey found that 76% of employers may automatically eliminate in employment candidate for any further hiring consideration based solely on the quality of his or her cover letter.

Don’t send a general cover letter to every company. Customize each one to that particular company’s mission and industry. 

Do address the cover letter to a specific contact at the company when possible. This information may not be supplied in the advertised job opening; it is up to you to do some research.

Don’t use this cover letter as a means of self promotion. Show the hiring manager why you would be an asset to his/her team.

Do mention relevant news about the company to display your knowledge and fervor for this position.

Don’t misconstrue the word “letter” in “cover letter” as an invitation to write a lengthy essay. KISS: Keep It Simple Silly.

Do end your cover letter with a compelling closing.

Don’t write a cover letter like Matt.

Wondering if your resume can stand the test? Get a free resume evaluation from the experts at GetInterviews.

Using Social Media in the Job Search

As job seekers continue to utilize traditional strategies in an attempt to land the job they want, it’s important to understand the advantageous role social media can play in the process. Job seekers can leverage these social platforms by taking the leap from personal usage to professional usage.

I came across a question the other day that asked: Which social network was most effective when used for the job search? While I strongly believe that having an optimized profile on LinkedIn is vital to bettering your chances of finding a job, I thought about how other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can also help.

Your Facebook and Twitter profiles are occasionally evaluated by employers to see how their candidates present themselves. Companies want to make sure their reputation isn’t tarnished and therefore, they take precautionary measures to ensure that you’re portraying yourself professionally. Although it may seem that there’s risk in having a personal profile on these social networks, social mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even blogging can have great job search benefits.

Social media strategies for the job search

Professionals can leverage social media as a means to engage with influential people. Here are some great tactics you can implement: 

Create a personal video on YouTube: A personal video about who you are and what you’re looking to achieve in a position can certainly complement a well-written resume. Dress nice, speak clear and be confident. Address an industry issue and tell employers how you would rectify it. Upload the video to YouTube and include the link on your online profiles as well as e-mail signatures.

Create an industry-specific Twitter list: Creating a Twitter list is not only beneficial for getting updates from top experts in your industry. Adding a Twitter user to a list will send an e-mail to that user that you have in fact added them. This will give you a better opportunity to connect with experts in an attempt to network and share information. Learn and build a relationship with experts by creating a Twitter list and adding them to it.

Use Twitter searches to your advantage: Twitter is a good social platform to use for targeting. Take advantage of it. Use a Twitter search to find users related to the job search, and then follow them. There exist a plethora of Twitter accounts created to share information about job openings. For example, a general search for a job listing in technology could be executed by using the hashtag ‘#techjobs’ on Twitter. Leverage the power of Twitter’s search to find job openings and recruiters. After applying for the job, follow the company’s Twitter account to let them know you’re active and persistent.

Join groups on Facebook: LinkedIn is a great service because it encourages professionals to join and participate in industry-related groups. Although people usually use Facebook for personal purposes, others use the platform to network with other users. Complete a search for an industry you’re looking to find a job in. Then join an active group and begin contributing to the group’s discussions. Facebook allows professionals to become more personal with each other.

Start blogging: Nothing screams out that you know what you’re talking about then having your own blog about the industry. Showing employers your blog about the industry will show them that you’re passionate about learning and adamant about utilizing your knowledge to help the company grow. Create a blog with Wordpress and start writing about what you know. Employers will be blown away!

What are you waiting for? Make sure your resume is optimized for success. Then use the strategies above to land the job you want today!To learn more about our resume writing services, please follow the GetInterviews company page on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn for Success

Do you have a profile on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals. The professional networking experience that LinkedIn offers is unlike any other social network. One of the most interesting concepts of LinkedIn is the ability to use your profile as a virtual resume. A good LinkedIn profile will help you stand out in the job search. There have been many job success stories from LinkedIn and you can find a job on the professional network as well.

However, signing-up for LinkedIn is only part of the effort. Upon registering, the next step is to begin optimizing your profile. Allocate some time to filling out your profile COMPLETELY. Employers are always using LinkedIn in their hiring efforts, so make sure you give them everything they are looking for in your profile.

Here are some tips and strategies to optimize your LinkedIn profile for job success:

Include a photo and make a custom profile link
When creating your profile, make sure to include a picture. Profiles that don’t contain a picture are usually categorized as spam accounts. A picture that includes your face is good LinkedIn practice as it adds a personal touch to your resume. Also, customize your profile’s link so that it reads your name (or a close variation of it). The goal is to market yourself as a personal brand and an easy link will help employers remember your name.

Website and links
LinkedIn allows you to include a website or other links on your profile. If you own a personal website, INCLUDE IT! You can also include links to other personal resources. Any links that can help employers to better understand you and your objective is worth including.

Recommendations
Recommendations are a great way to give the employer an idea of who you are through your work ethic. Although, not a requirement on your LinkedIn profile, having someone who can vouch for your work ethic speaks wonders and will certainly go a long way in finding job success on LinkedIn.

Grow your network
As stated before, what sets LinkedIn apart from other social networks is its powerful networking abilities. Take advantage of that! Start connecting with influential people and they may be willing to write you a recommendation or even better, they may put in a good word for you at human resources. Although having a healthy network can be effective, don’t overdo it. Make sure your network consists of people who are actually in your industry, because ‘who you know’ still matters.

SEO for your profile
Everything in your profile can be optimized for easier search. Optimizing your profile is similar to optimizing your website for SEO. Using specific keywords in your profile headline can help you stand out more. Think about how employers are going to be searching for you and then optimize your profile for easy discovery.

Publicize your profile
You’ve finished creating your profile? Great! Now make sure your settings allow your profile to be seen by employers. There’s nothing worse than hiding too much information from people not in your networks. Head over to your profile’s settings and make sure you grant enough access so that employers can find what they are looking for.  

Groups and LinkedIn Answers
Join groups in your industry and begin influencing the discussions. Get your name out there while establishing credibility in the process. Being proactive on LinkedIn is very beneficial. Another way to build authority is to start answering industry questions through LinkedIn Answers. Spend a few minutes each day answering some questions. Help others and they may be inclined to help you.

Get creative
In this day and age, it’s important for your resume to stand out! LinkedIn offers great add-ons. From showing employers your personal reading list to including a YouTube video of yourself, you can get creative with your LinkedIn resume by taking a look at some of the applications.

Utilize these tips and strategies and give yourself the best opportunity to succeed on your LinkedIn job search.

Follow GetInterviews on LinkedIn to learn more about our company and the services we offer.

Tweak Your Resume to Target Non-Profit Positions

Recently, we have seen an increase of job seekers wishing to parlay their corporate career experience into pursuing a position within a non-profit organization. If you are someone who wants to pursue jobs within a non-profit organization, it would be wise to tweak your resume and showcase any non-profit experience you have.  You can do this by including a NON-PROFIT EXPERIENCE section before your actual WORK EXPERIENCE section. Highlighting board memberships, volunteer work and any other involvement within non-profit organizations — over and above your corporate experience and accomplishments – shows a potential non-profit employer that you are seriously interested in making the switch.

Remember to “build a bridge” from the skills you have utilized in your corporate positions to the skills that are desired in the non-profit arena.  To that end, consensus management and budget administration dominate non-profit cultures. If you emphasize positions and activities in your work history that show you have done such things, you edge closer to being a viable candidate.  Let’s say you have 15 years experience working in corporate positions – normally not likely a good fit with a non-profit culture — however, demonstrating such things as rolling out a new product line under budget, or gaining cooperative interaction from multi-divisions to initiate international operations, will peak the interest of non-profit organizations.  Understanding the importance of team work, managing shoestring budgets, and positively impacting customer satisfaction are all skills valued by non-profit organizations.

In addition, your cover letter should emphasize your enthusiasm for making the career switch. Mentioning details specific to a particular non-profit organization will also go a long way.  The more genuine your passion is for wanting to work for the non-profit, the more likely the non-profit will take notice and the closer you will be to taking the next step to your new career!

The Most Bizarre Resume and Job Search Mistakes

In an annual resume survey conducted by Harris Interactive in which more than 2500 hiring managers were polled, a whopping 45% of the managers said they spent less than one minute reviewing a resume. When asked to recall the most unusual resumes they have received, employers shared the following:

1.    Candidate said the more you paid him, the harder he worked.
2.    Candidate included that he was arrested for assaulting his previous boss.
3.    Candidate said he just wanted an opportunity to show off his new tie. 
4.    Candidate listed her dog as reference.
5.    Candidate listed the ability to do the moonwalk as a special skill.
6.    Candidates — a husband and wife looking to job share — submitted a co-written poem.   
7.    Candidate included “versatile toes” as a selling point. 
8.    Candidate stated she was “particularly adept at comprehending the obvious.”
9.    Candidate said that he would be a “good asset to the company,” but failed to include the “et” in the word “asset.”
10.    Candidate’s email address on the resume had “shakinmybootie” in it.
11.    Candidate said he was qualified because he was a “marvelous physical specimen.”
12.    Candidate included that she survived a bite from a deadly aquatic animal.
13.    Candidate was fired from different jobs, but included each one as a reference.
14.    Candidate used first name only.
15.    Candidate presented a list of demands in order to work for the organization.
16.    Candidate asked, “Would you pass up an opportunity to hire someone like this?  I think not.”
17.    Candidate insisted that the company pay him to interview with them because his time was valuable.
18.    Candidate’s resume was intentionally written from right to left instead of left to right.
19.    Candidate shipped a lemon with resume, stating “I am not a lemon.”
20.    Candidate submitted 40-page resume that included photos and diplomas

Salary Negotiation Made Easy

It amazes us that “The Salary Game” is still very much alive.  You would think in this day and age that such vital information would be made known in job posts.  This would ensure everyone was clear on what was being offered and it would enable folks to manage their expectations.  But no – it is still a poker game of sorts with each party trying to work it to their advantage.

Certainly one of the most dreaded questions asked in an interview is: “What salary are you making now?" The rule of thumb is to not be the first to mention a dollar figure.  Instead, you could ask what the job normally pays for someone with similar qualifications.  Companies already have a budget for the compensation package, but they will low ball if they can.

What if they push you, and say that it “varies” and again ask you your salary? This can certainly be tricky if your salary is above or below market value. If you are pushed to give a number and you were earning below your value, you can state that compensation was within a certain range. If your salary was significantly above market value you can ask the range that has been budgeted for that position and simply say you fall within that range. Answering a question with a question is also a good way to steer the conversation in the way you want it to go.  For example you might ask: “How often are performance reviews done?” which would open the door for a possible increase in pay based on merit.

Should You Even Try and Negotiate Your Salary?

Many people are grateful to just be offered a new job and thus, are nervous about trying to negotiation their salary. To that end, we are often asked if salary negotiation is advisable in this economy.  The simple answer is yes. If you’re concerned that an attempt to negotiate you job offer will offend the potential employer or make you look greedy, don’t fret. According to numerous polls, more than 80% of employers expect some form of negotiation for pay, benefits, perks, work schedules, etc. So if you don’t ask for it, you most likely won’t get it.  Salary negotiation tactics are especially important when applying for sales positions. The hiring manager is typically testing your negotiation skills and your ability to ‘close a sale.’

So don’t get thrown when asked about your salary; instead, stay calm and be prepared for the question.  Knowing your value in the marketplace can help you to negotiate your compensation in a win/win manner.

Plan A – Ooops!

Yes, sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way we want them to, exactly at the time we wish they would.  We get an opportunity, or we meet someone with tremendous potential to influence our lives, but the timing isn’t right or the circumstances don’t lend themselves to fully exploring the situation at that moment.  Sigh, yes, timing is a critical component, both in job search and in life. But having said that, don’t despair, as there are ways to still have a happy ending!

Ensure a Happy Ending

- Maybe you just need to be patient and simply stay in touch.  This can be very true if someone else was just hired for that dream job of yours.  There is no guarantee the newly hired person is going to work out … in the first few weeks, that person could end up disliking the new job, prove to be a bad fit, be let go, or quit.  If you have followed up and stayed in touch with the people who interviewed you, you might even learn of the situation early – before they start interviewing again.  And if you are savvy and lucky, you can even persuade them that you are the right candidate, and they don’t have to go through the chore of interviewing again – you are ready to start next week!

- The pause can give you more time to research the situation. Let’s say you are interviewing with a company, but then out of the blue, you are told hiring is being put on hold and everything stops cold dead.  This is usually such a devastating experience that the job seeker often takes a break from his/her job search and has trouble staying positive.  However, if a hiring freeze suddenly gets imposed at the company where you are interviewing, you can view it as a dead end and do nothing, OR, you can use the knowledge you’ve gained about the field to further your job search: approach similar types of companies in that same field; contact companies that support or service those types of companies; even seize the opportunity to network via the people you just met while interviewing.

Obtain Your Goal

Remember, how you view those unexpected “timing ooops” can determine if the door is permanently shut or just merely leading you down a better method of obtaining your goals.  If Plan A does not work out, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet!  Just don’t lose sight of what you want and instead focus on a new way to reach your goal.