Tag Archives: professional networking

Using Online Tools to Gain Your Interview Edge

DSC_0024The world is a global village; the internet and digital resources continue to play a key role in making this a reality. Having said this, it is mind bugging to know people are still not taking advantage of the opportunities the internet affords them.

The birth of the internet comes with a rising number of Social Media and Networking sites which makes communication and rubbing of excellent minds indispensable. Top Social Media and professional networking sites such as Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and a host of others can give a candidate added advantages in preparedness for an interview.

Recognizing knowledge is power, especially when it comes to career success, let’s take a look at some added advantages gained by using online tools and resources to prepare for an interview:

  • Researching the company: Using the internet to research a company gives you insight and information concerning the company you’re interested in. Be sure and become more than familiar with the company mission
  • Learning about top skills employers are looking for in a prospective employee: When you attend an interview, you want to be in a position of strength by knowing you have the skills and educational background of the job you’re interested in
  • Identifying local employers and top hiring companies: Many sites provide information concerning top jobs in the market and companies that are hiring
  • Searching for job listings: Sites like O-net and Twitter are valuable assets when it comes to following companies and searching for job listings. Also, online networking sites give you an opportunity to make amazing professional connections with different people which keeps you afloat in terms of being informed

When faced with questions like ‘tell me what you know about our company.’ or ‘you tell me what attracts you to our company?’ the only way you can be prepared to answer such questions would be if you have taken time to research the company AND job.

To your advantage, many candidates show up for a job interview dressed to impress but hit a dead end when the conversation turns to the company itself.  Researching about a company using online tools available is very pertinent AND your advantage.  If you cannot state the reasons why you’re attracted to a company or say all you know about them as an entity at the snap of a finger, it would be difficult to sell yourself as a great fit for the company. BTW, you do not have to memorize the company’s entire profile but at least browse their website and go to their “about us” section.

CC Career Tip: Not knowing anything about a company is an immediate red flag

Make that Connection: In addition to browsing a company’s website and learning a thing or two about them, the internet is also a great tool for Professional Networking (making valuable connections). On a personal note, I know a several people who lost their jobs but made valuable connections to land them a new job or even a better job by staying in touch with their professional online connections. You can ask questions, ask for help in reaching prospective employers, using the Social Media sites like Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and a host of them are important tools that can afford you that opportunity.

Get Connected!
Alache Mary Bagna
Your CC Connection

Holiday Season Vacation or Vocation

Knits By Elaine
Knits By Elaine

As the holidays approach, it does NOT mean that your job search must come to a halt.

I get it, with vacations and holiday plans imminent, you may have other things to focus on, and you may even wonder whether anyone is hiring at all. Truth is, if you find yourself uncertain about taking career advantage during the holiday season, let me assure you: Employers are hiring.

As many successful career seekers can attest, that perfect position may be one jingle away. Whether a college student on break, unemployed, underemployed, or changing careers, this holiday break can be an invaluable time to refresh and recharge your job search. But there are a few rules of the trade…

Career rule of thumb: Don’t panic.

Remember that it is the holiday season and anxiety has a way of pulling away from the task at hand: gaining your career advantage. The best thing you can do is stay proactive even when it seems like there’s nothing to do. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the more attractive you will be to employers when the time comes.

Right now, there are four things you can do before New Year’s Day:

Goals
Now is the time to reassess realistic goals and to make career affirmations you will keep. If your job search has not been producing the results you want, take a moment to objectively analyze your goals and company contributions. Taking your goals and contributions to the next level does not mean you have to change your mind when you’re done. This simple exercise of “refreshing” or “rebooting” has the potential to energize a second wind that will carry you through any stale point. Feeling confident and motivated, you are now primed for the research stage.

Research
Whether you’re getting a much needed break from college or you’ve had plenty of time to yourself lately, now is THE time to research. Industry and company trends are readily available on the Internet, taking only an ounce or two of diligence. Specific research topics can include: How has the job market changed in the last few months in your area? What companies are most likely to be hiring in the New Year? What’s currently happening in the career field that you have chosen to follow? Another great place to research job-specific expectations is www.ONETOnline.org. I strongly encourage an hour of your time to this site BEFORE your next career move. Truth is, a little bit of research can go a long way, and it can help you to know what direction to go after the holidays.

Network
If you haven’t kept in touch with your network, look through your LinkedIn and your list of professional contacts. No matter how long it’s been since you were in touch with someone, wishing happy holidays is a great way to open that communication back up. During this revisit, don’t make the mistake by sounding self-absorbed by asking for a job. Many people may not take kindly to a year of silence and then, out of the blue, a job request. Instead of being overly aggressive, open up with holiday cheer and begin rebuilding that connection – it will benefit you in the long run.

Resume
When you last updated your resume, you probably made it shine the best you could and then put it away for another day. Here’s an idea, let’s make today that “another” day. Fast forward from last revision to now take advantage of the research you recently performed. By incorporating keywords from ONETOnline, industry research, and your professional development, you not only add depth to your selling swagger, you gain confidence.

Investing some time during this season will recharge more of your job search than you realize. Not only will it help you when it comes to making resolutions, but as the New Year approaches, you will be able to charge back into the job market more prepared than ever before.

If you have specific questions needing attention, email or submit comments and one of our professional career writers/coaches will handle with immediate care.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

LinkedIn: Are your students In or Out?

Office Back Area
Office Back Area

Registering and being an active part of the social digital media networking culture is to communicate with your connections. Otherwise, social media won’t have much of a point for you in the career networking world. Being active (or IN) is career critical when it comes to your LinkedIn profile. Being invisible (or OUT) automatically places you at a disadvantage as LinkedIn remains the #1 networking platform for professional networking.

If you are in the “out” group, take a few moments and reflect on the following tips to get you back on the track. For those within the “in” group, don’t skip a beat as new information could be as simple as tip #8.

1. Post regular updates
Be an active member of your networking community. To be part is to be part… in other words, don’t pretend to be active if you post once a month. When in doubt, a good rule of thumb to abide by is one post each day or two. Then again, don’t post just to post… make what you have to say industry specific and a benefit for your readers.

2. Visit your connections’ profiles.
Make an effort to visit your contacts’ profiles without relying on the “Anonymous LinkedIn User” feature so they can see your actual interest in them. Think about it, if someone was checking you out, wouldn’t you want to know who is interested? I thought so.

3. Utilize LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations.
Thoughtful recommendations will always trump a simple click of the mouse for an online endorsement.  Yet, Endorsements have a greater purpose than simply showing a contact you like their skills and expertise. At their basic root, they are another positive way to keep in contact with your connections, developing a sense of identity for all parties involved.

4. “Like” your contacts’ posts.
This is simple online etiquette, but don’t feel you have to go crazy about “liking” every single post you see from every single connection. Merely “liking” posts and status updates can get lazy too so don’t fall into a complacent consciousness.  Show your contacts you’re an expressive, thoughtful member of the LinkedIn community be leaving comments when you can to promote discussion.

5. Participate in regular discussions and comments.
Highlight in your unique (and relevant) “two cents” worth on any given contact’s discussion, or, better yet, initiate a conversation with a contact. This avenue can be a wonderful way to share ideas with established connections and potential connections.

6. Make time to read and comment on any connections’ blogs.
This is an effective way of creating synergy in the blogging community. Put in another way, if you were to post on a blog and get absolutely no readers, no comments, and no reactions, how would that affect your psychological state? Or, in the other situation, you notice a solid readership and dynamic discussions/comments, motivation becomes mountainous.

7. Further communicate through email use.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to send a contact a more personable private email but it could mean a great deal to the recipient. No longer is either party invisible… oh what a great feeling with potentially powerful results.

8. Congratulate your contacts on special occasions.
Go the extra mile and reach out to your connections when you see they hit a work-related anniversary, start a new job, or even just for celebrating a birthday. A little extra care goes a long way to keeping your contacts close and interested in your interests.

9. When convenient, meet in person.
The final step and goal of all this communication is to meet phone-to-phone or face-to-face. If your connection lives in a distant location, you may suggest getting together when you’ll be in their city or town. Plan to meet in a relaxed, social atmosphere such as a coffee shop, nice restaurant, or a personal networking event if your connection lives close by. Remember LinkedIn is not a hook-up site so keep all correspondence professional, courteous, and respectful.

LinkedIn: Are you in or out? Enough of the distractions, get out there and start communicating. Happy connections lead to happy careers!

Interested in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters, maximizing digital networking, and interview best practice approaches, visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available products and support.

If you have specific questions or career-related issues you would like responded to by our certified professional career coaches and writers, contact our staff directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Article penned by Bret Hoveskeland
Writer/Editor with Education Career Services
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com