You Need Experience To Get a Job But You Need a Job To Get Experience

28 03 2011

So, you’ve completed your degree and you’re ready to get to work. The only problem is that no one will hire you because you don’t have experience. So now, you want a job to gain experience and you can’t get a job because you don’t have the experience because you can’t get the job.

First, I would not apply through a recruiter for any direct hire opportunities. Since you are not the “Perfect” candidate because you lack the industry experience most hiring managers will feel like they are taking a chance by hiring you. When you apply through a recruiter the company will have to pay that recruiter a fee if you are hired. While this is not always a determining factor it’s usually in the hiring manger’s mind when determining the cost of bringing you on as a new employee.

Secondly, explore contract assignments. While they may not pay as well as your current occupation, a pay cut may be required to get your foot in the door. Most companies will lower the qualifications for contract positions even though they don’t lower the compensation, compared to the direct hire candidate so the pay cut may not always be required. Some companies actually hire contract employees directly, but more have these positions outsourced contract staffing firms so if you are going this route you may be speaking with the recruiters who I told you not to speak with in my first suggestion.

Lastly, whenever possible take part in activities that help increase your resume. For example, you could volunteer once a week for a non-profit group that has some type of significance to the jobs you are looking for. By taking part in real world activities you can include them on your resume and show that you are still active even though you may be working a full time job which is not related to pay the bills.


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.


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.

LinkedIn Premium Accounts: Are they worth it?

19 10 2010

I’ve been utilizing LinkedIn’s vast networking capabilities to connecting with potential candidates and clients for some time now. I consider myself an avid and successful user of LinkedIn. Within my first year I grew my network to well over 3,000 first level connections, admittedly the majority of my early connections were open networkers and of little direct significance to my clients. However, open networkers are all worthwhile as they allow you to see a greater number or profiles in your searches.

While LinkedIn has great advantages there are still many challenges to overcome be an efficient tool. LinkedIn can be overwhelming by offering so much information, most of which may not be relevant to your end goal. Although LinkedIn is great at minimizing SPAM there is still a fair amount of SPAM messages that make it through. It also takes a fair amount of time to understand the limitations of your account and LinkedIn could do a better job of pointing these limitations out when you first open an account. Did you know you only have an initial 3,000 invitations and there is a magic number of rejected invitations that will result in you only being able to invite members to join your network if you have the email address associated with their LinkedIn account.

Well, now that I’ve pointed out several weaknesses of LinkedIn I must let you know that I feel it’s the single best networking tool out there, even before signing up for a premium membership. I’ve been able to gain several contracts and find several senior level candidates which I’ve placed as a direct result of the free membership on LinkedIn.

After my most recent senior candidate placement I asked my employer to consider a Premium LinkedIn Account. I’ve had it for less than a month and I must say that I feel that it’s worth every penny. For $99.00 a month I receive 25 InMails, numerous introductions, and several added features that weren’t even mentioned in their marketing advertising.

First off, the InMails are AWESOME! InMails virtually open LinkedIn wide open and allow you to contact all of your second and third level connections. For me this is essential because I’ve exceeded my LinkedIn open invitations. Prior to exceeding my invitations I was able to be sneaky and use a connection request to include a message directed at the recipient and it was going to make it the intended recipient. Once you’ve exceeded your open invitations it is worth price for the InMails alone.

The second feature that is invaluable is the increased number of introductions allowed. These introductions let you use your connections to help you meet others. In many ways these introductions are more productive than InMails. With an introduction you are able to touch base with two members of your network and put yourself out there more, which it the idea with social networking. I must caution you though, make sure you know who you are asking to push an introduction though. As a new user I once asked a direct competitor to introduce me to one of their clients. They were able to see the purpose of my connection. Fortunately, I did not reveal any secrets but my introduction was swiftly rejected. In this case an InMail would have been more appropriate and potentially effective.

There are several tools that are very helpful in growing a successful network and getting your profile seen. The search functions are vastly improved. You are given many search cosignatories which allow you to better target the people you are looking at. These categories let you select values like seniority, company size, years of experience, and type of connections that they are interested in. These addition search categories are of greater value because LinkedIn premium accounts allow you to see more of your results as well, so you don’t run into the, “Upgrade Your Account” page as quickly.

The other tool that I love to play with is the advanced profile activity results. These features let you see your profile statistics for the last 90 days. You can see how many times your profile came up in searches and how many people actually visited your site week by week. You can also see the top key words that resulted in your profile showing up searches by other members. With these tools you can play around with your profile and your group activity to see what activities or profile changes result in gained exposure. You can easily increase traffic to your profile and ultimately your company/personal web pages.

Lastly, the premium account allows me to accept open messages from all LinkedIn members. If someone wants to send me a message right now, they can. They don’t have to send an invitation and hope I accept. They don’t have to pray that their connections will forward an introduction. This results in anyone that is interested in conduction business discussions is able to do so, without me giving out any of my personal contact information.

Because I can profit directly from LinkedIn in my profession it’s a definite advantage. I would suggest it to anyone who uses LinkedIn on a regular basis. Please feel free to comment or ask any question that you may have about LinkedIn. If there is interest I’ll also continue to blog about some proven LinkedIn tips that I have used to grow my network to over 6,100 first level connections and continue to grow by an average of 6 new invites each day from other members.

LinkedIn Premium accounts have my vote. Go get yours!