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What’s all the Hype about Pinterest?

Last year, it was Google+, now it’s Pinterest! Social media is exploding at an alarming pace that it’s becoming quite difficult to keep up. At the same time, as a career coach, I have to know what tools are available so I can guide my job-seeking/career transition clients accordingly.

With that, and as an early adapter, I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon and requested an invitation. A couple days later my request was granted and I created an account, curated my websites, then decided to explore the tool in more depth. It has visual appeal, for sure, is great for graphic content and creative job seekers could find ways to build their resumes. As a matter of fact, I found one resume I thought was unique and pinned it to my board.  So, since my foray into the tool two weeks ago, here’s what I found:

  • It is a virtual Pinboard that “lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes”, and may I dare say, create somewhat of a resume.
  • It drives more referral traffic than Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Shareaolic Report. If it drives more traffic than LinkedIn, should job seekers be playing in that space?
  • Techcrunch reported that it had 11.7 million unique visitors, faster than any other standalone in history. It was also named by Techcrunch as the fastest startup in 2011. How many of those visitors were recruiters and hiring managers?
  • Their goal is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” A bold goal!

In a couple of days I will be speaking to a group of communications, advertising and marketing professionals, and with such a creative bunch, you bet Pinterest will be a part of the discussion!

Can job seekers use this tool to maximize their job search? What are your thoughts?

By the way, if you wish to come along for the ride, you can click here to follow me on Pinterest.

 

Related posts: Can Pinterest Help Your Job Search?.

How a Patchwork Quilt Résumé Could Damage Your Brand

Wikipedia’s Definition of a patchwork quilt: a quilt in which the top layer consists of pieces of fabric sewn together to form a design.

By my own definition, a patchwork quilt résumé is one that is made up of phrases and sentences copied from other people’s career documents (résumé, cover letter, bio, or LinkedIn Profile), and presented as one’s own.

Recently, there was an intense discussion on the forum of one of my professional associations about someone who had copied blocks of a sample résumé to create her own then contacted one member to spruce it up for her. While scrutinizing the document, the member realized the contents didn’t gel, so she did a Google search. It turned out the sample résumé was crafted by another member of this same association and posted in an article on AOL.

I have had my share of people sending me résumés made up of bits and pieces of other people’s résumés, and sometimes cover letters. In one case, it was the summary from one of my own creations. As I started reading the résumé, I thought the wording sounded familiar. On checking, I realized it was one I had written for another client. This new client told me someone had helped him out for free but he wasn’t having much success with it.

When information is copied from someone else’s résumé, it is very easy to spot the patchwork quilt design. The information is incoherent; statements are generic and some phrases just do not match the person’s experience or background. Actions like these only serve to damage one’s brand, and elicit accusations of plagiarism, copyright infringements, and ethics. Moreover, if such a résumé lands on the desk of a discerning hiring manager, such a candidate’s credibility will come into question, and he or she will most likely not be called for an interview.

Here are the facts:

  • Your résumé is a branding tool that tells YOUR story, not someone else’s, and shows the face YOU want employers to see.
  • You are unique! There is no one else like you, with the same experience, accomplishments and work ethic. Your co-worker may have the same job description and may do the same work like you, but he or she is not your clone. You must differentiate yourself.
  • Your aim is to create a résumé that captures your unique talents, accomplishments and experience; not one that looks like a patchwork quilt, or one that gives the impression you have a Jekyll and Hyde personality.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Instead of scouring the Internet for sample résumés to build your own, take a look at your job description and ask yourself “What have I done with the job they asked me to do? How is the company better off since I joined?”
  • Read each job description statement and apply the ‘so what’ factor to each. For example, if one of your responsibilities is to “monitor and analyze sales promotion results...” Ask yourself, “So what? What did I do? What happened?”
  • Review your last two performance appraisals and look for the nuggets of your contributions from projects you worked on, objectives met and targets exceeded.
  • Start building a résumé that tells YOUR story. Make sure each statement addresses your value proposition, and answers the employer’s question “Why should we hire you?” If you are unable to create your own résumé, find someone whom you trust; has credentials and know what they are doing.

Don’t damage your brand with a patchwork quilt résumé. Learn to tell your own story and get hired!

10 Reasons CareerTips2Go Café is better than Starbucks!

We all clamour for that cup of coffee, and in my case, that cup of tea, to start our morning. On a Monday morning like this, we probably need more than one cup to get us started. What if you were being offered something much better than that cup of coffee or tea; something to put your career on the fast track to success? You can have it. It’s offered at our CareerTips2Go Café, and it’s longer lasting than what you get at Tim Hortons, Starbucks and even McDonald’s. Here’s what the Cafe provides:

  1. A Coach-on-Call to assist you with your resume, interview, and other job search questions.
  2. Step-by-step instructions on how to how to create your own story-telling resume.
  3. Opportunities to learn how to leverage social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+) to build your professional network.
  4. Tactics on researching companies, bypassing the gatekeepers and getting to the decision-maker
  5. Strategies to increase your confidence and boost your self-esteem.
  6. Access to up-to-date interview trends and case studies.
  7. Coaching on how to articulate your accomplishments, strengths and potential to your next employer.
  8. Up-to-date career resources and techniques at your fingertips.
  9. On-demand coaching customized for you.
  10. An objective voice to tell you like it is even though it might hurt.

Drop by and see what we have on the menu, and give us some feedback while you are there!

Own Your Name. Build Your Personal Brand. Up Your Job Search Game

Do you own your name? “Of course, I do”, you say! Last week I hosted a free teleconference for job seekers and professionals to gauge their career plans for 2012, and see if I could help them achieve their goals. I offered some options on how they could up their job search game in the new year, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. A few days later, I had coffee with someone who had missed the call, but who wanted to bring me up-to-date on her next career move. She told me about her plans for the year and about her new website. While discussing the website, I suggested that she claimed her name on the web by registering it as a domain. Her eyes opened widely as in “What do you mean?”

These days whether you are a job seeker or an entrepreneur, one of the first steps to building your personal brand is to claim your name – register your name as a website. I learned this early. You see, actor Jude Law’s former nanny has my name, and I wasn’t aware of it until I heard of the scandal surrounding their alleged affair. Soon after that, I claimed and registered www.daisywright.com and www.daisywright.ca, as domain names through Hostmonster (Affiliate Link). I have since given up the .CA domain.

Why is it important to own your name? The hiring process has changed for job seekers, and personal branding has become very important.  Recruiters and employers don’t rely solely on traditional methods to learn about or evaluate potential employees. They are swamped with résumés, phone calls and emails. It is, therefore, your responsibility to change the way you market your stories and your skills to employers, and raise your visibility because your résumé and cover letter are no longer enough. The same is true for entrepreneurs.

To begin your brand-building process, your first step is to register your name as a domain, if it’s still available.  Use it as a one-stop haven for your social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube (if you’re venturing into videos). When employers and recruiters begin searching for you, or when you need to connect with someone of influence, it’s easy to send them a link to your own website which houses your other profiles.

In a recent Fast Company article, the writer tells a story of how a 16-year old high school student emailed her out of the blue, and asked to join her as a guest on her TV show. He did not send a résumé, but instead included links to his website, Twitter account, Facebook page, and three relevant YouTube clips. This is a 16-year old! He has already learned how to use the web to his advantage–building a strong and positive personal brand before he even reaches his adult years. Twelve months into his brand-building exercise, he is already a well-known regular tech TV expert and blogger–and he’s not even out of high school yet.

What about you? Are you ready to step forward and do something as daring as ‘Mr. 16-year old’? Do you own your name on the web? Are your profiles up-to-date and housed in one place? Have you scoured your Facebook profile to make sure that everything is professional? Do you have blog? If not, are you contributing your expertise to industry blogs? If a recruiter or employer begins searching for someone with your stories and skills, will you stand out from the herd, or will you stay hidden in the crowd?

CEOs, HR Executives and recruiters encourage job seekers to use social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs to improve their chances of getting a job. One CEO stated in a Boston Globe article that, “We often find hires because of their activity in social media and, especially, the blogosphere.”

A recruiter said, “We like to see candidates who have filled in their LinkedIn profile completely. Upload your resume, and if you are a blogger (and it is relevant to your career), post the link to your blog. With respect toTwitter, she said,”We use Twitter directory tools to find candidates whose bios match our hiring needs.”

The field is too competitive these days for you to continue doing what you have always done and expecting different results. You’ve got to be willing to go the extra mile in bringing visibility to your story. It’s time to up your game, begin building your personal brand and let the job vacancies find you.

Sources:

Five Steps to a Better Brand

Social Media Advice for Job Seekers

 

10 Résumé Buzzwords to Avoid in 2012

Hear ye, Hear ye! This is hot off the Press! LinkedIn has just released its list of most overused professional buzzwords for 2011. They did this after analyzing 135 million professional profiles on their website. Some of these same words were on the list in 2010, and have resurfaced. Check your résumé or LinkedIn profile to see if you are guilty of using any or all of these:

1.      Creative

2.      Organizational

3.      Effective

4.      Extensive experience

5.      Track record

6.      Motivated

7.      Innovative

8.      Problem solving

9.      Communication skills

10.    Dynamic

As much as we might want to eliminate or reduce the use of these words and phrases, employers tend to lag behind with the use of clichés. Their job postings still include many of these words. Their applicant tracking system still contains these words and phrases, yet if the words are not incorporated in a candidate’s résumé, the résumé does not stand much of a chance of being seen by the human eye.

One way to overcome or minimize the use of these words is to give examples or tell stories of:

  • how you were creative
  • what problems you solved
  • what really got you motivated, and
  • how many years of experience you have.

By using this method, the hiring manager or decision-maker can easily see your potential value.

As with everything else, your decision to include or exclude these words requires a delicate balance. The fact is, there are going to be times when using the ‘word or phrase’ is your only option!

 

Source: LinkedIn’s Most Overused Buzzwords for 2011

 

11 Things You Can Do Between 11 AM & 11 PM on November 11, 2011

While this blog post is not really connected to November 11, and the Poppy, I have chosen its image as a reminder of the many people who paid and continue to pay the ultimate price for the freedom we so often take for granted. In their honour, I ask that you take a brief moment (less than 11 minutes) to read and understand the significance of this memorable poem written by Lt. Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army. In Flanders Field.

That said, today being 11/11/11, appears to have a significance of its own for many people and what’s going to happen after this date. An extract from the following blog post: The Aquarian Shift: What Will be Different in Our World After November 11,  states:

“You are ready to accept that you have the knowledge and wisdom within yourself. It is no longer necessary to attach to something outside yourself, but to become a leader of one: yourself. Instead of being a railroad car that is pulled by an engine, you become your own engine. It is your responsibility to stay on the tracks and to keep moving forward.”

Here are 11 things you can do to show you are, indeed, leader of one – yourself’ – and that you have the courage to become your own engine’:

  1. “Greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp.”Elbert Hubbard
  2. Show appreciation to those who have fought and continue to fight for world peace.
  3. Learn to say “Thank You” in 11 different languages.
  4. Pick up the phone and make one of those cold calls you’ve been procrastinating about.
  5. Take 11 minutes out of your 15-minute break and mentor someone.
  6. Randomly select 11 people from any of your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts, and send them a message to say how glad you are to have them in your network.
  7. Take an 11-minute mind break to be alone with yourself. Even if you are in an office full of people, just take the time to be quiet.
  8. Send a motivational quote, a tip or a favourite recipe to 11 people in your address book.
  9. Write down 11 accomplishment statements you could use to improve your resume.
  10. Write down 11 interview questions that you struggle to answer.
  11. Send a LinkedIn invitation to 11 people with whom you would like to connect.

Happy 11/11/11, and to whatever significance you attach to it, if any.

 

Client Lands Job Posted on Twitter

Her recent email read “Remember that job posting you sent me about a Bilingual Marketing Manager where they asked me to translate my résumé to French? I want to let you know that I got an offer and I accepted it. I am very excited since there will be a lot of interesting challenges and I am getting everything I want – salary, vacation and benefits. Thank you for all your help and I will keep in touch.”

This message was from a client with whom I had been working for several months. She was having a tough time finding a marketing manager’s position and thought that nine months was unbelievably too long to be looking for work. At times in our conversations I could sense her frustration, but I reminded her gently that job searching could be a slow and tedious process, but if she kept her head up and continued doing the right things she would eventually land the job she wanted. I also told her that giving up was not an option. She hung in there and got the job.

How did this happen? As part of the job search strategy, I encourage my clients to invest time in social media. I do, and it’s not not for social reasons, although that happens. On Twitter, for example, I follow hiring managers, recruiters and job boards, and participate in Twitter Chats with HR professionals, recruiters and leadership coaches to keep abreast of industry trends. Through these channels, I sometimes become aware of job opportunities and if I find that someone in my network seem to be a match for some of these opportunities (whether they are clients or not), I forward the information to them.

This Bilingual Marketing Manager’s job is a great example. It was posted on Twitter by Monster Canada (@Monsterca). When I read the requirements, it sounded perfect for my client so I forwarded it to her. She translated her résumé to French as the company requested, and after a couple of interviews and several weeks of waiting (because of the summer holidays), she landed the job with “everything she wanted…” as noted above.

Looking for a job is a full-time job, as it’s often said, but it requires various strategies to achieve success. The other point is that you may have a great résumé, but if you continue to use ineffective job search methods or rely on one particular strategy, it will not help you land the job of your dreams. Therefore, plan to incorporate social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ into your job search toolkit because that’s where employers and recruiters hang out these days. Job boards are still around, but the companies behind these boards are extending their reach via social media. If you are an early adopter ready to jump on the social media band wagon, you will be way ahead of your competitors and achieve your job search goal.

And, don’t buy in to the concept that there are no jobs! Jobs are out there, but you need to assess your skills, employ a variety of tools, be deliberate with your search and visualize yourself sitting at the desk as an employee at one of your target companies!  Remember, “Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve.”

I hope you have gained some value from this post. Share your comments below, or connect with me if you need to discuss how you can move your career forward. I will be pleased to have a chat with you!

 

3 Basic Tips to Boost Your LinkedIn IQ

Are you just getting started on LinkedIn? Are you someone with a LinkedIn account but an incomplete profile? Set aside some time today to work on your LinkedIn profile. “Why?”, you ask. LinkedIn has been described as your “Résumé on Steroids”. This means your profile is available online 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. In addition, more than 85 percent of hiring managers use it to find candidates. With the potential for so much exposure, you should familiarize yourself with some LinkedIn basics.

  • First, replace the blank avatar in your profile with a professional headshot. People are more inclined to accept an invitation when they can see a face. If, for some reason, you don’t want to use a photograph, use an image that is closely aligned with your profession or your personality.
  • Second, customize your LinkedIn invitation. Do not use the generic, “I’d like to add you to my professional network” invitation that LinkedIn offers. Create a short personal message such as “I was reviewing my professional network on LinkedIn and realize you are not yet on my list. Please accept my invitation to connect.”
  • Third, create a Personal LinkedIn URL. When you first created your profile, LinkedIn automatically assigned you a profile URL that included letters and numbers. Change this URL to include your name. For e.g., my LinkedIn URL is www.linkedin.com/in/daisywright.

According to LinkedIn, members with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive career opportunities. Put yourself in a position for new career opportunities. Begin working on your LinkedIn profile, and have a great Monday.

Google+…What is This?

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking with 30+ Internationally Trained Engineers at Humber College about marketing themselves to employers. After I had touched briefly on the Big 3 social networking platforms – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – I introduced Google+. “Google what?” they asked. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Google+ is the new kid on the social networking block that arrived on the scene in June. Think of it as a blend of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Now, you may already be suffering from social media fatigue and do not want to hear about another one. However, Google+ is worth exploring. Why? Recruiters and hiring managers are there. Some are already using the Hangout feature to conduct interviews and meetings. Career coaches, resume writers, HR and public relations professionals, and marketing and communication experts are using this same feature to network with each other.

If you are an early adopter, you have a chance to follow these professionals and get to know who the other players in their circles are, who they are connected to and who are connected to them. You will have an opportunity to network with other users who, as they get to know you, may be able to help you in your job search or career transition. Remember, networking is key!

Speaking of early adopters, blogger/author/speaker, Chris Brogan is writing a book on Google+. Imagine that, and the platform is not yet 3 months old. As a job seeker or career changer, you need to be acquainted with all these social networking tools, and they are basically free. Explore and see which one aligns best with your interest and goals, then dive in. As the saying goes, “The early bird catches the worm.” You need to be leading the pack ahead of your competitors.

Years ago when blogs weren’t that fashionable, I suggested to a colleague that she creates a blog to showcase her expertise and distinguish herself as a communications specialist. Of course, it was the intent that someone would notice her extraordinary writing capabilities and contact her. She told me that blogging was a fad that would soon wane! Well, the would-be fad is now main stream.

Don’t get left behind. You already know how difficult it is to find job opportunities through traditional means. The use of social media in your job search is critical. Whether or not you jump on the Google+ bandwagon, you owe it to yourself to find out what it’s all about. Here  is a link that explains the basics of Google+:  Introduction to Google+. Once you have reviewed it, post a comment to tell me your thoughts.

At the moment, you can only join Google+ by invitation, and I have been allotted 150 invitations.  If you would like to test-drive it, send me an email with ‘Google+’ in the subject line and I will send you an invitation. View my profile-in-the-making at http://gplus.to/careertips2go. Remember, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Google+ is F.R.E.E.

It’s a Business Card…It’s a Resume…It’s a QR Code

It is (or used to be) the norm that a business card would include a name, title, phone number, email address, website and sometimes a tagline. That was yesterday. Today, in addition to the elements mentioned, the business card could contain one’s elevator pitch, branding statement or mini resume, thanks to the arrival of the QR (or Quick Response) Code.

A QR Code is a collection of symbols that when scanned by someone’s mobile device provides more detailed information about an individual. See the sample below which was created from my LinkedIn Profile using Pingtags:

 

 

As trendy as a QR Code may be, it could present a challenge to those without a  barcode scanner or mobile device with a QR Reader App. That said, from a job search or business perspective, it could be seen as another way for someone to set him or herself apart from their competitors and enhance their brand. What will they think of next?

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Related Website: Skanz