Your “bedazzled” email address can cost you the interview

Do you have a cute, flirty, or suggestive email address on your resume, for example:  hotchick@aol.com, or poodlelover@gmail.com, or perhaps goodtimes@aol.com ?

While this may be fun for emails between you and your friends, this could cause you to lose out on an interview! Think about this from an employer’s standpoint. What impression do they get about you when they read these unique, sometimes bizarre, email addresses? What image do you want them to have of you?

If you want to create a professional impression, then be sure you have a professional sounding email address! The most recommended way is simply to use your first name and last name or first initial and last name, such as: janesmith@gmail.com or jsmith@yahoo.com. So, go check your email address and get ready for the phone to ring!

Is Your Confidence Going Down?

Job Search is often a time of mixed feelings – anxiety, excitement, stress, panic, relief, frustration and more. During a tough economy, many job seekers have been either searching for a long time and / or out of work for a long time, which adds more emotions to the upheaval.  Many job seekers talk about their confidence and self-esteem levels going down. They start to question their own value – if I am not getting called in for an interview, then maybe I am just not good enough? Yet, when they think about it logically, they are very confident that their performance for their last employer was top-notch. They were successful in daily job performance, they were well-liked, they could multi-task, and they can provide numerous examples where they contributed new ideas that improved operations, saved money, or added to the bottom line.

 The loss of confidence and low self-esteem is pretty common during an extended job search.  It is a normal reaction to the circumstances. Think about it – so much of our identity is tied to employment – from the type of work we do, to bringing home a paycheck and being a contributor.  Suddenly, we have lost our identity, our paycheck, and no one is calling.  That being said, it is important to seize control and work on your confidence.  Your confidence level can seriously impact your momentum and the way you come across to others. You want to be viewed as someone who is positive, enthusiastic, and ready to work. Exuding low self-esteem can give employers the wrong impression and lead to a vicious cycle of not getting offers and further extending your search.

 Here are some strategies that may help when you feel low:

√        Positive self talk –think about your successes and strength; remind yourself of top notch performance and impact

√        Take a break – be sure to schedule breaks to stay fresh

√        Exercise – get outdoors or to a gym – those who exercise tend to feel better about themselves and improve their physical stamina; they exude energy

√        Reward yourself – figure out what motivates you – a movie, lunch with a friend, a good book…whatever it takes to motivate you for your efforts

√        Take a class – join a program to learn something new

Implementing strategies to increase your confidence will make you feel better, will improve your attitude, and will help with your professional image to get better results!

Don’t Blame the Economy!

You are a recent graduate who just can’t seem to find a job. You may be motivated, have received excellent grades and have committed to multiple internships, so you can’t figure out why the job search process isn’t any easier! It’s often hard to pinpoint exactly where something is going wrong, but founder Kathryn Sollmann (9 Lives for Women blog) highlights some great areas to examine in her recent post titled “7 Reasons Why Jane Has No Job.”

 Kathryn, who met a “bright and accomplished 2011 college grad who has not yet found a job,” discovered that there were at least 7 reasons why this grad’s job search had stalled. Surprisingly, none of them have to do with the poor job market! Keep reading for some crucial areas to work on.

 Most people think that they can look for a job effectively while doing many other things. But Kathryn points out that “finding a job is truly a full-time job. You have to spend at least 40 hours a week on your search to get any significant action. Keep non-search activities to 20 hours a week. If you can’t afford to limit the temp job, make sure that you’re maximizing your job search time in the evenings and on weekends”

 Similarly, many jobseekers have difficulty networking properly. I always recommend the importance of making industry contacts and building relationships, but many college grads may be doing this in a non-meaningful way. Kathryn writes “there are benefits to networking meetings, but success depends if you just happen to meet the right person. Limit in person networking to one or two events a month that are targeted to a desired industry— “

Beyond maximizing networking events, some people are reluctant to utilize other social gatherings as means of networking. According to Kathryn, her college grad “needs to extend her networking circles and think about people she knows from every aspect of her life (schools, clubs, religious affiliations, sports groups, etc.).” Every time a recent grad is socializing, he or she should also be thinking about ways to network! You never know when the right person comes along that might have the job or connection you need to get your foot in the door.

 Kathryn discusses many other essential job-searching tricks in her post, such as creating a job search strategy, using LinkedIn correctly, and maintaining energy in communication. Read more of Kathryn’s wonderful advice and ensure that you are job-hunting most effectively and efficiently.

9 LIves for Women Blog:  http://9livesforwomen.com/2013/02/08/7-reasons-why-jane-has-no-job/

Special thanks to contributing editor, Leora Kanner

Polish Up That Elevator Speech

Most of you have heard of an “Elevator Speech,” right? The story goes something like this – let’s say you have an interview for a job you really want. You get into the elevator on the first floor of the building and find out the other person in the elevator is the head honcho who is going to have the final say in whether you get hired.  You now have about 60 seconds to ride in the elevator with her to the top floor.  When she finds out that you are the candidate under consideration, she seems curious about you. What “speech” can you give her in that elevator ride to peak her interest and ensure that you get the offer? Ahhhhh! If you don’t know, then you need to figure this out – and fast!

You meet people all the time, especially if you are networking, attending professional organization meetings, and actively pursuing job leads. Sometimes, you really only have about an “elevator ride” worth of time to impress someone or not. So what can you do? Try to identify what you really want to market about yourself and what sets you apart out there.  What value do you add? What do you want other networking professionals to remember about you? Practice your “elevator speech” out loud. Listen to other people’s answers when you ask them what they do – what impresses you? Who do you remember and why? These are not easy questions to answer – but investing some time and careful thought into your “elevator speech” can create a lot of opportunities for you.

If you are at a networking event, be sure that your interaction is not “just about you.”  It’s important  to focus on building relationships, too.  So show interest in the other person and ask how you might be able to help them. You will certainly be remembered for that!

 

Do Recruiters discriminate against the unemployed?

Scary…but true. Job seekers tell me they have been told that being unemployed was a reason for being eliminated from the process. And within the last year, a job ad got a lot of press for specifying that “…the unemployed need not apply.” Ahhh!! In a good economy, there is an assumption that those who are out of work were not good performers. However, it is hard to understand why this bias remains true in a tough economy when so many top performers are out on the street as well. So, I recently chatted with several local recruiters to ask about this bias and what can job seekers do about it.

 

Recruiters responded employers have a preference for the employed. Some companies feel that those who are employed “made the cut,” so they must be more valuable than those who were downsized. According to Rachel Evans, Managing Partner, AgentHR Recruiting Group, employers are also legitimately concerned that someone who is unemployed is a “flight risk.”  They worry that a desperate job seeker may accept a position if they have been unemployed for quite some time, and accept a job since it is a “paycheck” to them. That is, the job will help with their current financial difficulties, but the job or company are not really a good fit, and the job seeker will flee when a better position comes along.

 

So, if you are not employed, how can you overcome such biases out there? One thing you can do is to demonstrate that you are not just sitting around unemployed by getting involved in some type of work or professional activity. See if you can obtain temporary work – especially if it is related to your field. You can also try to get involved in various professional activities – this can be taking courses, earning a relevant certification, or becoming involved in a professional association and contributing to their committees and needs. These efforts should be noted on the résumé and in your cover letter to demonstrate that you are currently involved.

 

In submitting your résumé, the most important thing you can do is to be sure your resume stands out and matches job-specific keywords, according to Lynn Parker, CPC and Director of Talent/CEO of Guy-Parker and Associates. Lynn says that most employers are relying on applicant tracking systems (ATS) that search for keywords most closely matching their job description. She recommends that candidates (1) select positions that are relevant and match your skills (2) ensure your résumé includes keywords that reflect your skills (3) tailor your résumé and cover letter to the keywords of the job ad or position description.  Lynn also cautions that you check to be sure that your cover letter is addressing the position you are applying for and that all names are correctly addressed to the right person or company.

 

Another thing Rachel recommends for most unemployed candidates is not to go the route of 3rd party recruiters, except for contract assignments. They are better off targeting the in-house recruiters. If companies are to take the chance on someone unemployed, they certainly would be reluctant to pay an agency fee. In addition, sometimes accepting contract work, even with a lower salary and no benefits, could be a ticket into a permanent position within a company. If you are somewhat venturesome, you might want to consider some form of entrepreneurship–just be careful of scams out there (you can check via the BBB and sites like “ripoffreport.com.”)

In terms of your job search plan, Lynn advises that you avoid getting overwhelmed by setting priorities. Take some time to rethink your goals, identify companies that you want to work for, and do your networking to get to the right people. All agree that social media, like LinkedIn, provide excellent tools to support a job search with effective networking capabilities. Participating in discussions on LinkedIn groups, can give you exposure and demonstrate your knowledge…..so that eventually, employers and recruiters may start coming after you!