Early Careerists: Are You Utilizing Linkedin Effectively?

Recently, a colleague of mine had mentioned that she spoke at the college where she had graduated from. She taught current students and soon-to-be graduates about the professional social media networking website, Linkedin. Some of the students informed her that adults or professors had advised them against using social media when it comes to landing internships and jobs. Other students weren’t really sure how a website like this would help them. Being that she is a talent acquisition specialist, she made sure she properly educated the students on why it is crucial for them to not only use this site regularly, but also to keep it updated and accurate.

As a student or early careerist (or anyone, really), here are some important things about using Linkedin:

  • Keep your resume updated and accurate: Recruiters aggressively use this site as a tool to search for candidates to fill their job and internship opportunities. Make sure you update your profile regularly to have the most recent experience and education present.
  • Make yourself searchable: if you’re in the market for work or looking for opportunities to gain experience, update your resume to be as visible as you feel comfortable. Additionally, research appropriate hot keywords that are relevant to your experience and education. Place these in your experience, summary, and skills section.
  • Respond in a timely manner: if you have a smartphone, make sure you download the app or have your emails forwarded to your phone. Since the recession, it seems like there are a ton of candidates available for limited positions, therefore, it’s important to respond ASAP to ensure you can secure a potential position before another candidate does.
  • Network: join in groups, participate in discussions, connect with individuals, and respond to emails. Linkedin is a great way to connect with people in the industry who can teach you about companies or roles you’d be great for. Additionally, individuals posting thought leadership questions in groups and links to great articles can make it be a great resource and learning tool.

I strongly agree with my colleague when it comes to this. I am also in a talent acquisition role and I currently rely on this site heavily when it comes to finding candidates to fit job openings that need to be filled immediately. I appreciate individuals that have detailed profiles because it helps me search for them and I appreciate those who respond to me in a timely manner. I also love it when candidates personally try to reach out to me to let me know that their interested in a job I have posted. These are the people who end up getting hired quicker because they made themselves available, present, responsive, and searchable.

Additional Links:

Are You Searchable?

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What are Talent Communities?

In last week’s #TChat, we dug deeper to understand social communities, specifically focusing on talent communities. Of course, this is another topic that I enjoy learning more about because my background is in HR and I’m currently in a recruiting role. For those who don’t know what a talent community is, it can be simply defined as a social community that deals with social recruiting efforts. These communities open up opportunities for two-way communication between recruiters and job seekers. Talent communities can be an essential way for job seekers and recruiters to determine if there is a fit between what the company needs and what the candidate needs.

So what are some examples of talent communities? Here are some that come to mind:

  • Social media: sites like Linkedin are designed to connect professionals with other professionals. This is a great way to network, learn, and develop. It’s also a fantastic way for recruiters and job seekers to find one another and open up opportunities for communications.
  • Chats and discussion groups: once again, this can be located on social media sites such as Linkedin and Twitter. These social media sites have created discussion forums and chats that are focused on talent acquisition and human resources topics. They also open up chances for recruiters and candidates to participate in discussions so they can build potential relationships and networking opportunities.
  • Career fairs: career fairs are a great way for recruiters and job seekers to get some meet and greet time in. Career fairs are specifically designed for job opening promotion and discussion (sometimes even interviewing). Every instance involves some sort of communication in this talent community.
  • Networking events: networking groups and events are another great way to create and maintain a talent community. Individuals can meet each other in a casual way and perhaps even gain referrals for business development, expertise, and/or potential job openings (or candidates, for recruiters who are looking).

I am a strong believer in talent communities. I enjoy the social aspect of it and believe that it can be a very strong resource, both for recruiters and job seekers. These communities are created organically and maintain strong engagement because it has a central purpose that is of interest to those involved. The strongest aspect of this community is the fact that candidates can get a deeper understanding of job openings and company culture to determine if it is a fit for their personal needs and values. Additionally, recruiters can gain more insight on what candidates can offer in addition to their past work/education experience. All in all, I think talent communities create opportunities to help connect and fit the best job openings with the best candidates.

If you like topics like this, be sure to join #TChat on Twitter on Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

More Links:

The Talent Community Leader’s Sweet Spot

Talent Community Recap by Kathleen Kruse

#TChat Insights on Storify

Talent Culture

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Should You Let your Employees Use Social Media?

Another successful #TChat this past Wednesday has become my muse for today’s blog post. HootSuite was kind enough to make a guest appearance this chat and helped us learn the many business benefits of social media. Of course, social media has many great benefits when it comes to marketing to customers but what about the benefits of allowing your employees to use social media for business even if they aren’t in the sales or marketing department?

Social media in the workplace doesn’t necessarily need to be a negative thing. It can actually help your business more than you realize:

  • Employees become a megaphone: if you have more employees using social media to talk about your company, the products/services, events, etc., it can reach a larger audience. Not to mention, the audience that it is reaching will be people that know the employees and trust them which can make a better impact.
  • Your recruiters can research candidates: resumes don’t always give a clear picture of why candidates would be top talent for your company. Social media gives candidates a voice and personality and can show recruiters the candidates’ personal brand. This can help recruiters really get a good picture of what a candidate would bring to table if hired.
  • It can engage employees and increase internal mobility: sometimes an employee’s job role doesn’t allow them to show managers what they’re truly capable of. Social media can open up options when employees are attempting to find ways to take initiative. It can open up opportunity and show managers what ELSE the employee can do if given the chance.
  • Surprisingly, it can increase communication: social media makes it easier to communicate and network with all sorts of professionals. This networking can help build relationships that can turn into partnerships or business opportunities. Additionally, these people can provide new and useful resources to help a company learn and progress.

Understandably, employers are worried that employees will abuse social media use. However, it can make a positive difference if you train employees on proper uses and even give them ideas on how to use it to benefit their jobs and the business as a whole. You can even engage employees to use it properly by creating contests, recognizing a good job, or even offering incentives. Open your mind to this and you may allow your company to progress faster than ever before.

#Tchat Recap

TalentCulture

Photo By: Sean Charles

For more interesting information, be sure to join #TChat on Twitter on Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

Benefits of Business Travel

Travel can seem like an inconvenient task for some people. Other people consider travel as a welcome break in their mundane work week. Regardless of someone’s view on travel, it can be extremely beneficial for both your personal and professional life. The important thing is to make sure you utilize your time there in a way that can benefit you down the long run. You could be surprised by how the little things you do while traveling could end up being useful down the line.

Whether you’re an early careerist or someone who has been in the workforce for years, the world is full of opportunities and possibilities. To make the most of your experiences, be sure to absorb and learn as much as you possibly can. With that being said, I am happy to share tips on how to best utilize your business travel:

  • Network with new contacts. Business travel allows you to connect with some remarkable people throughout the business-spectrum. This is a great time to get to know people that can help you down the line, whether it is for a particular task or just for mentoring. Building these relationships now will make it easier down the line when you’re ready to move up or laterally. These contacts can teach you, provide insight, or get you connected to the right people. Talk to the most people you can because you never know how they’ll be useful to you in the future and vice-versa.
  • Explore new areas. Business travel doesn’t always have to be all work and no play. Take advantage of the time you have there, even if you only have a few hours to spare. Regardless if you’re in a thriving city or a quiet town in the middle of nowhere, this is a chance for you to learn about different lifestyles elsewhere. This knowledge can open your mind and help you be more understanding to people who are different than you.
  • Use it as a chance to research. In your career, you may find yourself in situations where you will be transferred. Additionally, you may be given better opportunities elsewhere. Many people turn down opportunity because they aren’t sure if they’d be happy somewhere new, especially someplace they’ve never been. If this situation occurs in your life, you will be able to confidently pursue the chance because you’ve taken the time to learn about the area. Don’t miss out on professional growth because of uncertainty.
  • Reap in the benefits. If you stay with a hotel chain enough or use a certain airline, sometimes these companies will give you perks for your patronage.  Some of these perks can range in discounted spa treatments, free tickets to shows, a free night’s stay, half price plane tickets, or a great deal at a local restaurant. These perks could be great to use either on your next business trip or even for a personal trip.

There are plenty of other great ways to utilize your business trips besides the ones mentioned above. I hope that you find these tips useful and work them in your favor on your next trip. There is so much you can learn about business and even yourself, so please make it a point to maximize every moment you get in a beneficial way.

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How Will Your Career Benefit from Business Networking?

“It’s all about who you know,” I’d often hear people say to me while I was going to college. More seasoned professionals had constantly told me that in order to leverage my position into the working world, it was best if I knew someone. I figured that knowing someone wasn’t as important as getting the education and experience to prove that I was competent enough to do a job. However, I soon found out that the advice of getting to know people was important for my career. Getting knowledge and experience was great but if you didn’t know someone to display that to, then your career hunt could be a bust. Therefore, I’d like to focus today’s post on the benefits of business networking, both internally and externally.

Sometimes people underestimate the importance of networking (I was one of them at one point). As I network more and more, I really do see that there are some fantastic benefits to it. Networking can help your career in the following ways:

Externally:

  • Keep you abreast about industry trends: Networking can help you learn about industry trends, concepts, technology, news, and resources that you may have never easily learned about on your own. Additionally, talking to individuals that know more about this topic can allow you to get a deeper understanding and obtain knowledge that could give you a competitive edge for your job hunt.
  • Keep you in the loop about what companies are hiring: There are a lot of great companies out there that you may not know about. Networking can help you get exposure to companies that fit what you’re looking for but you haven’t discovered yet on your own. Additionally, finding companies that aren’t as well known could help you have less competition for the jobs you are applying to.
  • Allow you to know ASAP about job openings in the companies you are targeting: Companies don’t always post their jobs externally. Networking with people can allow you to know about job openings before others do, which could increase your chances of being selected.
  • Open up communication with other recruiters/hiring managers: Sometimes the people you network with won’t always have an opportunity for you. However, if you build these relationships they’ll be more willing to refer you to other individuals that do have openings and could put in a good word about you. Referrals are highly regarded.

 Internally:

  • Raise your professional profile within a company and/or industry: Networking internally could help you build your reputation in a positive light. You could go from the average employee to the go-to guru. Building clout this way could help you obtain a promotion at your current employer or become a desired employee that companies seek.
  • Get opportunities to work on special projects: Getting to know people can allow them to learn your interests and your abilities. Therefore, they could easily consider you for any upcoming projects in your workplace that are relevant to these. Having the opportunity to work on these special projects could help you gain useful experience and knowledge that will build your resume up nicely.
  • Showcase experience to correct hiring managers when attempting to get a promotion or raise: Your professional profile and contributions to special projects could easily catch the eye of the hiring managers in your workplace. These things can support your resume and could allow managers to confidently consider you for promotions or raises.

There are so many benefits networking can provide. I’ve started networking a lot more and wished that I had done it sooner. I’ve met so many interesting people that have taught me so much about the field I’m interested in and even more. These individuals have been so helpful and were willing to spread the word about my blog. They have also sent my resume out to their connections to help my job hunt. It’s been a joy networking with these people and I hope that I can pay forward the kindness they have shown me. I strongly suggest that you take time to build these relationships because they could be great for your career in the long run.

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Photo Source: Infovark

Become a “Rock Star” While Job Hunting

On Friday, I had written a post that talked about building up your confidence through the grueling process of job hunting. It’s tough- trust me, I know. There are plenty of days that I want to throw my laptop out the window from pure frustration. However, I’ve learned to pull it together during a time that really wanted to test me. Perhaps it’s my defiant nature, but I’ve vowed that I will beat this. Having this “can-do” attitude is helping me tremendously and I would love to help you get to this point, as well. Therefore, I’ll be happy to share some tips and suggestions on how to make yourself become a rock star while searching for your next employer.

First, I would like to mention that there are many beneficial reasons for harnessing this sense of self-worth. To name a few:

• You’ll display yourself in a confident demeanor during interviews.
• You’ll keep your sanity if you’re unemployed and bored sitting home.
• You won’t let rejection defeat you.
• You’ll keep your priorities in check and won’t accept a job just because it’s the first thing to come up.
• You could discover something interesting and useful about yourself.

As you see above, there are plenty of reasons why you should take a break from the job boards and take some time to work on yourself. Rejection after rejection can kill confidence which will end up hurting your job hunting progress. If you’re currently reading this post, then it is apparent to me that you care about finding a good job. Since I understand your current state, I would love to do anything I can to help you. Therefore, below are a few suggestions on how to build up your self-assurance and potentially get employers interested:

Break out of your comfort zone: Go to local meet-and-mingle events for professionals with the sole intention of learning more about the businesses in your surrounding area. Don’t come off as desperate by starting it off with a “please hire me” campaign. This tactic could potentially put up the “gatekeepers’” defenses. Instead, spend time asking questions about them and their company. Conversations like this could help you figure out which companies you’d want to target. Additionally, this can allow you to create a networking relationship with them. These gatekeepers are the ones who determine if your resume gets through or not, so get on their good side.

Be a socialite: Talk to anyone about anything. You may be pleasantly surprised at the new insight you gain. I’ve spent time reaching out to people all over the business spectrum and ended up learning a lot. These individuals have taught me: life lessons that changed my perspective; introduced me to businesses that fit what I’m looking for; gave me new tips on how get employers’ attention; and directed me to new resources that helped me learn about specific topics. I was also surprised by how willing people were to help and how supportive they were.

Get virtual: Join professional networking sites and contribute to discussion boards in various groups. You can learn more about business and expand knowledge by talking to professionals throughout the world. I have been utilizing sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to get exposure. I have found that using these websites and really taking the time to communicate ideas thoughtfully have taken me further in my job search than simply submitting resumes to job postings. Even if the individuals I’ve spoken to couldn’t help me directly, they have been kind enough to connect me with someone who could.

Take time to do something you love: Only focusing on the job search can create stress that hinders your productivity. Take a breather and do something you love to break up the search stress. Taking this break could put you in better spirits and in a better mind-set when attacking the job boards again.

Reward yourself: Most job seekers beat themselves up over their unemployment or underemployment. However, you’re making an effort in the right direction and deserve to reward yourself for working hard. Trust me- you’ve earned it.

Try something that interests you: Too often we focus on what we have done previously rather than what we’ve always wanted to do. Give it a shot- take a class; watch an instructional video; or read a “how-to” blog/book. You could discover you’re better at something new rather than something you’ve been doing for years. Learning this about yourself could open yourself up to opportunities you’ve never considered before. Opening your mind can help you break out of the box you may have trapped yourself in.

Realize it’s never too late to switch gears: The world is full of options. It’s also full of resources to obtain the experience and education you need to pursue those options. It is never too late to switch career paths. Like my father always said to me, “I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.” He’s been a loyal employee of the electric union for over 25 years. It’s nice to know he still has the mentality that opportunities are always there, no matter what you’re doing in life. I always appreciated the fact that my dad encouraged me to find what feels best for me instead of pushing me into a specific major or career. That inspiration is helping me more than ever right now.

Put yourself out there and take chances: If playing it safe isn’t getting you the response you need (or any response at all), then you need to try a new tactic. Take a chance, try something new, get exposure, and put your all into it. People respect others who show courage. You may be able to catch the attention of the right people because of it. My blog is my example of putting myself out there. I was happy to know that this approach could be successful, as I read in this article.

Life sometimes has a way of making the steady ground you stand on become unstable. Unfortunately, we can’t control when or why this situation occurs. However, you can control how you handle the circumstances. Job seeking isn’t easy but these suggestions can help you get back on your feet.

Send me a tweet and let me know how these suggestions have successfully worked for you: @AshLaurenPerez

Links:
How to Blog Your Way Out of That Entry-Level Job
10 Tips for Job Seekers in the Digital Era
Intel’s Networking Tips Blog Post

Companies mentioned:
LinkedIn
Twitter