Have you put yourself into the hiring managers shoes?

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Be Strategic in Your Job Search[1]

Often times when I am doing a resume review or offering resume advice I will check to make sure the student is putting themselves into the hiring managers shoes. “Have you thought about HOW the person doing the hiring is going to go through that stack of resumes?”

I have learned from hiring managers and human resources recruiters that they have a process. And, I have used this process when I have been nominated to be on selection committee’s in the past.
First they skim each resume…spending no more than 30 seconds on each one (sometimes less than that). They create a “yes” pile, a “no” pile, and a “maybe” pile. Your resume goes onto one of those piles. Next, they review thouroughly every resume/application that is on the yes pile and if they have enough candidates to interview, they never do look at their “maybe” pile and if they saw nothing that impressed them on the resumes that landed in the “no” pile, why would they look those again?

So, my advice to you is this: When you have completed drafting up the best resume you can draft up, then say to yourself, “I am the hiring manager, what words jump out at me on this resume?” (usually the bolded ones). “Do my resume headings clearly stand out and help me (as the hiring manager) to see my skills?” “Am I using the key words of the industry that I am hoping to land a job in?” “What words can I use to honestly describe my abilities and at the same time mirror what the hiring manager is looking for?” If you need help wordsmithing those words, contact us for our handout of “Accomplishment” or “Prove It” statement examples. We can share this in person or electronically. Any alumni or student at Western Technical College qualifies for our services here in the Welcome Center. Come on in and create a resume that has impact!

LinkedIn Do’s and Don’ts

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As I read more about using LinkedIn as a job search tool, I notice that the experts use some of the same methods I use when critiquing a resume….the same methods recruiters and HR respresentatives use when they are reviewing resumes and deciding who to interview.

The three most important sections of your resume are: Work Experience, Summary of Qualifications and Education. When experts review a LinkedIn profile they look at the current job title for the person…then read through their past job titles, next they look at the responsibilities they had at each job. Then they look at education degrees and/or their geographic location if that is applicable.

These experts recommend that you take the time to improve your LinkedIn profile following these suggestions:
1) Put in as much information as possible. List not just your job titles but include those accomplishment statements that we teach you how to write when you are preparing your resume. Include responsibilities at each job. There is a place to include your educational degrees and be sure to include any foreign languages that you speak.
2) Do state that you are open to “career opportunities” under contact settings…or you can indicate that you are open to expertise requests (then I will feel comfortable asking you who you know who might be right for the position I am trying to fill)(then you can raise your own hand if you like).
3) Put in key words that relate to your areas of experise under “Specialties.” There are key words to every industry. You know the lingo. Are you using the key words spoken daily on the job in your industry?
4) Add your picture – It makes people feel more connected to you, and people like to do business with someone that they can feel like they know. Honestly, I have chosen not to link with people who I might have linked with if I could have seen their picture.
5) Take the time to join appropriate professional and alumni groups. It makes you more accessible to recruiters. It really does not take a lot of time to be considered “active” in these groups either. Go in there, read an article and comment on something occasionally.
6) Do NOT put in “cutesy” titles such as “Head Geek” or “Chief Bottle Washer” this will cause experts to pass you by.
7) Do NOT be vague with your job title – be as specific as possible.
8) Do NOT change your job title to “Consultant” if you are recently unemployed unless you are actively looking for consulting assignments.
9) Do NOT brag about how many connections you have. If you have more than 20, I am suitably impressed. Boasting 2000 + connections causes me to believe that you will connect with just anyone. Take some time now to improve your LinkedIn profile. Have a GREAT week!

Source: How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, by Brad Schepp and Debra Schepp.

Does it seem like “Finding Your Path” is tougher for you than it appears to be for others?

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Do you sometimes feel like you are struggling more than others? For me, choosing a career path was a challenge. I know that I certainly struggled for years….this could be why I have such a passion for helping others with choosing their path. I can offer two ways for you to take care of the problem. You choose.

#1 – You can come to the Welcome Center at Western Technical College (400 7th Street North) and look to your right once you are inside the door. There you will see the big Career Services sign above our services counter…just tell us that you want to take a career assessment. We can walk you through the two assessments that we offer. The first assessment helps you see what your top three career clusters of interest are. We use those results to help you find careers that match your Typefocus results. Typefocus lets you see how things match all on one page. You can save careers that you are considering in a “portfolio” area so that you can do further research and narrow down your choices. It is the best tool I have seen in a long time and I have been in thc career counseling field for awhile! Both assessments can be found in the career assessments link, within the career services page at westerntc.edu. It does help to talk over your results with someone so please walk in to Career Services 🙂

#2 – Sometimes the best thing you can do is set aside the time that you need in order to make a decision. Decisions are easier to make when we have taken the time to gather the information we need. What better way to make this happen for yourself than to take a class? When we take a class we are literally setting aside the time to learn. This is something that you do for yourself and your own self improvement. This fall, 2014 Western Technical College is offering five career development courses. Four in La Crosse and one at the Tomah outreach center. Our career development course is 1 credit and the cost is minimal (approx. $140 including material fee’s). A simple copy/paste and I have the course description for you: “Provides an opportunity for students to participate in personal career development in order to promote individual growth, academic achievement and career satisfaction. It is recommended for all students as a means to clarify or validate their current and/or future career aspirations. Topics covered include a foundation of career development theory, assessment of self, understanding of the world of work, developing life/work planning skills, which includes decision-making and goal setting. These topics are presented using lectures, self-directed learning, group exercises, class discussions, guest speakers, multimedia, and panel discussions.”

Are you ready to make a decision on “Finding Your Path?”

As always, let me know if you have questions – 608-785-9257 or careerservices@westerntc.edu.