Should your LinkedIn profile say you’re a consultant?

27 03 2011

There are a lot of people out there looking for opportunities. Many experienced professionals take consulting assignments in order to pay the bills or keep them active in the industry. This is great and many consultants end up receiving job offers from the companies they work for upon completion of their assignments. Others do well and gain valuable experience that builds their resumes and contributes to landing future positions.

What I often notice as I browse LinkedIn profiles is many people in this situation post their current roles and place “Consultant” in the job title. Unless you are a true consultant who wishes to jump from company to company working on special projects do not put Consultant as your job title on LinkedIn. I suggest using the title that would be assigned to the role that you are filling. I’m in no way suggesting that you be at all misleading. I feel that you should include the fact that you are in a temporary role in the details for your position.

My reason for not using the word “Consultant” in your title is that it’s directly going against your reason for updating your profile, assuming you are looking for future full-time employment, is that when staffing professionals search for you on LinkedIn they will often assume that you are seeking future consulting roles.

As with most web-based searches there are weighted elements that are used for quantifying results. In the case of LinkedIn job title is the most heavily weighted. To prove this try doing a LinkedIn search for someone with your exact job title and I’ll bet that you’ll come up in your search. Further evidence can be seen when you conduct a search and your result yields profiles of people who have only included job titles in their profiles. Surely, with over 8,000,000 LinkedIn profiles, your key words would come up in thousands of completely filled out profiles, yet people with job titles matching your search always come up.

If you want to get hired you must think like the people looking to hire. How will they search for you? What words will they choose to find people doing what you want to be doing? Once you’ve thought about it take a second look at the job titles in your profile.

I’d love to hear your opinions regarding this and other post on this blog.





You got the interview, Now what? “Read your Cheat Sheet”

27 03 2011

Most of my previous post discuss how to find jobs or make yourself easy to be found by the people working to fill openings. So, what do you do if you have an interview? Do you run out and make sure your interview suit is dry cleaned, read up on the company you’ll be interviewing with, and get a good night sleep before your interview? Those are all great things to do. But will that be the determining factor of your placement? Perhaps the suit may impress, the preparation will certainly help if they ask you questions, and the good night sleep could make you more energetic, but will the person(s) interviewing you notice?

The thing to remember about and interview is that it’s as much about you meeting with the company as it is about you meeting with the company. As a recruiter I’m always expected to provide pertinent information that the candidate should have prepared for their big day. The fact is that there is typically very little I can provide in detail. Interviewers judge candidates on an unlimited amount of factors when determining who they would hire. We all talk to people who were members of the teams who interviewed us when taking a job. I’m sure that you’ve all heard stories regarding the discussions that took place when your candidacy was considered. Most of the ones that I’ve heard about myself are hardly relevant to the job.

My point is that 80 percent of the interview process is out of your control and half the decision has already been made. The people who are interviewing you have already decided if they like you or not. They are meeting you for one of only two reasons. They are speaking with you because they feel that you are really worth speaking to and they WANT to give you the job or someone in HR told them that they should really interview at least three people before making any hire because it’s the right thing to do. In either event, it’s either a good thing or a bad thing right from the start and you can’t control it.

The only thing that you can do is to be prepared to discuss the items that are on your resume. Your resume is what got you to this point. What more could they want to know? Just think back on every interview you’ve ever been on. They will ask you about things on your resume every single time. I give this advice to every candidate that I send in for an interview. “KNOW WHAT’S ON YOUR RESUME, IT WILL COME UP. Your resume is your INTERVIEW CHEAT SHEET!

So next time you have an interview scheduled sit down and read your CHEAT SHEET!





Are you speed dating or job hunting?

13 01 2011

Speed dating rarely results in long term relationships. How many of us have heard a married couple answer, “Oh, we met at a speed dating night down at the bar”, when asked how they met? Not many of us, I would imagine. With internet sites becoming extremely successful for matching ideal couples and the old tried and true method of old school dating the success rates are much greater. The reason is that the later methods take time establishing the needs of both parties involved and allow each party to get the sense of overall compatibility.

I like to think of the job search as the dating process. While some things are purely chance success if generally a result or an initial compatibility along with communication, effort, and compromise from both parties. If you think of your career search like you do dating, or did for those of us that are already married, you’ll find it much easier to stay focused in your search, gain more from interviews you attend, and ultimately have better results.

RESUME: Asking someone out on the first date

You approach needs to be suitable to match what the other person is looking for… you have to be dressed properly and be able to project yourself as a person worth spending time with. All this must be projected in a quick and to the point way, usually on the first attempt.

PHONE SCREEN:The first Date
This is a meeting that doesn’t take too much work on the part of either party. Both parties have said yes, I”m open to the possibility of investing time in this person. This is where both people typically try to only talk about the positives but sometimes, previous dating experiences, why past relationships didn’t work and so on. Both parties typically end with something like, That was fun we should talk again, regardless of actual intent to follow through.

IN PERSON INTERVIEW: Dating for the long term
This is the moment that we’ve all waited for. A meaning full sacrifice by both parties to go out of their way to spend meaningful time together. You really find out if it’s worth going on or should you break up and and look for a more suitable partner that better matches your needs and who’s current situation and future plans are similar to yours.

OFFER STAGE: Engagement
This is the stage where you decide that you are in it for the long run. You are dedicated to moving forward because you have seen everyone else who’s out there and you are confident enough you’ve found the right person. You then go to the jewelery store to pick out a ring. This decision is based on a lot of factors. Tradition is often taken into consideration (industry standard pay) along with Budget, Payment Options (benefits), and a few other things. You also have to take into consideration how desperately you want this person to say yes. If this person says no, will it crush you or do you think you can find another person who’s a better fit given enough time. If you don’t think you can replace the person you always buy a little bit nicer ring than you can really afford to help seal the deal.

There is always a budget for salary (the ring). This budget can sway sometimes in either direction for many reasons. The Dating (Interviewing Process) is you chance to ask important questions. Make sure you, as a hiring manger or potential employee, get the answers you are looking for throughout the process as well as share with your potential partner. If the answers aren’t going in the right direction take a step back and if they are “deal breakers” walk away in a professional manor.


FIRST DAY OF WORK: Wedding Day.

While you may think that the marriage is the acceptance of the offer, like engagements, we all know runaway brides. The first day of work if the first time you are officially married and you can update your LinkedIn or Facebook status with the great news of your new job. Like marriage each and every day after is based on communication, effort, reward, compromise, loyalty, along with all of the typical requirements to make a solid long lasting relationship.





Understanding Recruiters

24 09 2010

I get calls all of the time from candidates asking me how much I charge to help find them a job. There is a misconception out there that if you link up with a recruiter that your life will be good and you’ll know about prefect opportunities all of the time.  The fact is that I don’t know of a recruiter out there has ever received money from a candidate to find them a job.  One thing all candidates must understand that recruiters work solely for the company that they are assisting in finding candidates for.  

I’d like to start out by explaining how recruiting works.  Anyone can be a recruiter.  All you have to do is contact a company that has a job and ask them if they need help filling the job.  If they say yes, you then negotiate an agreement for payment.  There are three general types of recruiting that occur.  Retained Searches, Contract Searches, and Contingency Searches.

  • Retained Searches are usually for extremely senior level positions.  A company will pay a recruiting firm to dedicate full-time attention to one position.  This usually includes and advertising campaign along with contacting senior executives by any means possible.  In retained searches there is only one recruiting firm working on the position and it’s not offered to any other recruiters.  The client company is paying them a fee so that their own staff can focus on other responsibilities.
  • Contract Searches are conducted for several purposes.  Companies can use these services as a temp to hire where they can evaluate candidates on the job prior to offering full-time employment and costly benefits.  Long term contracting is usually used because a company wants to save money on payroll cost like taxes, workers compensation insurance, and unemployment insurance.  These contracts can last several years.  Lastly, there is seasonal contracting.  These jobs are to add extra workers during transition or peak seasons.
  • Contingency Searches are ones where a company is in need of great candidates to fill a job.  In order to save money and to keep their internal recruiting staff small they seek out multiple search firms to assist with sourcing candidates.  In this type of search recruiting firms are competing to find the best candidates for the same jobs.  The recruiters work aggressively to submit candidates before the other recruiters find them or they apply directly to the company.  The reason for the competition is because the firms only get paid if the company hires the candidate that they have found.

Now that you understand the types of recruiting and how a recruiter gets paid.  It’s obvious to see who they are working for.  Like everyone else, our client is the one that writes the check.  Because of the misconception that recruiters work for job seekers recruiters often get labeled as the bad guy because we won’t submit your for every job that you feel your are qualified, but the reality is your should be thanking them.

Why should you be thanking a recruiter for not submitting you?  Well it should start to make sense for you soon. Since you know how a recruiter makes money you should see that it would make sense for them to focus their time on the candidates with the best chance.  If a recruiter tells you that you aren’t the ideal candidate there is a reason.  It’s not because the recruiter does not understand your experiences, it’s more about them understanding your weaknesses and how you stack in comparison to other candidates and the client’s actual needs.

Most job descriptions are general in nature.  How many of you applied for a job and once you were there for a few months looked at the job description again and laughed because your actual job is significantly different from the job you applied for?  I know I have.  Well, given that a recruiter will only get paid for candidates that are perfect and that will get the job, aside from the retained searches for top level executive searches, The recruiter must be very confident that your resume is NOT what the client is looking for.  Now assuming this is true and that you are not the PERFECT Candidate it is a fact that you will have a better chance at the position by applying directly for the position. 

So why should you ever go through a recruiter?  If you are the ideal candidate a recruiter can guarantee that your resume will be viewed by someone responsible for a significant part of the hiring process.  A recruiter will also be able to, in most cases, get feedback greater than the typical, “Thank you but we have decided to select a more qualified candidate.. blah blah blah…” that you usually receive when you are not considered for a job.  A recruiter can also have a direct conversation with the company to explain your gaps in employment and other questions that a company’s HR person simply does not have time to ask each candidate.  A good recruiter can also tell you about the company, reasons the job is open, hiring timeline, and other crucial information that will help you decide if you are even interested in the job.

With all of this understanding about the function of a recruiter you may have also put it together that if you are not the ideal candidate going through a recruiter could hurt your chances of getting the job.  In a situation where the company is concerned about the fee that is going to be charged by a recruiting firm if they hire, they will not hire you unless you are the perfect candidate.  I do not have one client that will hire a less than ideal candidate that I send them.  This is going to be the case with any employer.  So only go with a recruiter when you feel that you are truly qualified. 

With all this said it’s now obvious who recruiters work for.  It’s your responsibility to understand the advantages and disadvantages or working with recruiters.   Understanding what they do, who they work for, and why they are calling you will help you understand rejection as well understanding the advice they will give.