By Risë Kasmirski, Career Strategist, Meaningful Connections
If you are a job seeker pursuing your next opportunity you know things have changed dramatically in what you must now do to find and land your next job. Employers also face challenges with a dwindling pool of qualified candidates, a need to attract and retain good workers, and technology advances that require more sophisticated worker skills.
Seven major trends have evolved in the past few years that dramatically impact how individuals seek out jobs, and how employers find great candidates. Understanding these trends can greatly enhance your job search savvy and potentially shorten your search.
1 – BALANCED EMPLOYEE & ORGANIZATION NEEDS
Younger generations in the workplace have a strong desire for development and growth opportunities and for social learning. Employers desire workers who are ready to jump right in to the next assignment or project, allowing them to create a lean, skilled pool of workers.
The Opportunity: Know your skills, strengths and the learning and growth opportunities you desire. Then you can pursue employers with the right development opportunities. You will gain needed skills for future career growth, and your employer will benefit from an engaged worker with current skills.
2 – GLOBALIZATION AND SHIFTING WORKFORCE DEMOGRAPHICS
With five generations in the workplace by 2020, global work teams, and a projection of up to 50% contingency workers (contractors, part-timers) by 2020, you are going to encounter great diversity in attitudes, ideas, and worker styles.
The opportunity: Be ready to describe your own style and the skills, knowledge, and personal attributes you can contribute to the organization. Prepare to discuss the ways in which you are flexible and adaptable.
3 – INNOVATION – CREATE AND LEARN AS YOU GO
With virtually anything we want to learn available 24 / 7 through technology, we all need to be ready to learn and apply our learnings as needs arise. It is the resourceful worker that keeps current who is the most valuable to the organization.
The opportunity: Close the gap between the skills and knowledge you have today, and what is currently needed in your profession. Do you need to adapt to some new technology, understand industry trends, learn a new process or procedure? Be ready to share how you keep yourself current with your new employer.
4 – PERSONAL BRANDING – REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
Everyone has a personal brand. You might think of it as how others experience knowing you, the impact you have on others, and your desired impact. Personal Brand Strategist Kathy Crandall defines it as “What Happens Because of You”™. The massive attention to personal branding is aligned with the rapidly changing workplace where workers move from company to company and often shift careers several times throughout their lives.
The Opportunity: Understand your personal brand and communicate your brand consistently so that employers understand who you are in addition to the skills and knowledge you have.
5 – SOCIAL MEDIA REVOLUTION
We live in a digital world that emerged so rapidly we all need to keep current on how technology affects job search. These days a computer will read your resume via electronic resume scanning long before a human will ever lay eyes on it. The messages you transmit via social media (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc) all tell a story about you.
The Opportunity: Update your resume for electronic scanning including focus, keywords, branding). Google yourself and find out what others see when they search for you. Make sure the messages you are giving leave the impression you want your potential employer to see.
6 – LINKEDIN – NUMBER ONE RECRUITING TOOL
There are 300+ million users on LinkedIn worldwide, and more than 96% of recruiters inside and outside of organizations use LinkedIn to find candidates. It is possible that LinkedIn may replace the need for resumes in the future.
The Opportunity: Develop a robust LinkedIn profile that brings your personal brand to life, highlights your skills and accomplishments, and helps others find you for job opportunities and meaningful connections. Understand the powerful job search tool that LinkedIn has proven to be and develop a LinkedIn job search strategy.
CULTURAL MEGATRENDS ARE CHANGING OUR WORLD
As society becomes more socially and environmentally conscious, workers are more attracted to organizations that promote these ideals. The work practices and ethics of organizations have become increasingly transparent due to instant broadcast capability via the internet. Attitudes are shifting to more emphasis on personal values rather than what the workplace demands.
The Opportunity: Get in touch with what you value so that you can approach each opportunity through the lens of what is important to you and what type of contribution you would like to make.
Individuals who understand and embrace these workplace trends are more likely to feel focused and clear on what they are seeking, with consistent messages aligned throughout their resume, LinkedIn profile, and other social media avenues.
Spring Break on Sanibel Island was wonderful. An afternoon of golf turned into a new client and a new marketing channel.
After playing golf at the newly updated Sanibel Island Golf Club I stopped into the club house to shop. When I meet someone for the first time while I’m on vacation I usually start a conversation with a question – “where are you from?”
The Golf Pro behind the counter said that he grew up in Indiana. Ed Lockard introduced himself as the new owner of the rebranded Sanibel Island Golf Club. I was curious about him and his venture and asked more questions.
Ed shared that after being a Head Golf Pro for more than 25 years on Captiva Island and in the Fort Myers area, he and his Head Golf Pro colleague, Drew Donnelly, purchased the former Beachview Golf Course and Tennis Club on Sanibel Island and rebranded it in 2013.
I introduced myself as a connection coach who advises my clients to Look Good and Be Found for meaningful and profitable business connections online. As a Certified Online Brand Strategist and LinkedIn Specialist, coaching and advising small business owners, I asked Ed how business was going and if he had a LinkedIn account. He said that he had heard of LinkedIn but didn’t have an account and didn’t understand the value.
Within seconds he invited me to sit at his computer and show him how LinkedIn worked. I began building his LinkedIn profile and started a Company Page. Ed was thrilled.
I showed him how to search and connect with old friends, clients and vendors. I shared how he could promote his services and connect with meeting and event planners to increase his corporate golf, tennis and catering event services, and how to increase his brand online in addition to adding media to his profile. In 10 minutes he was looking good and being found.
I was quickly reminded why I did what I did. I love to activate people to do their highest good, to facilitate meaningful connections and lift up people.
It’s very simple when you do what you love. Here are my reminders to help you makemeaningful connections:
- Be Curious
- Be Kind
- Be Interested
- Be Loving
- Be Authentic
- Be Generous
- Be Helpful
- Be Positive
- Be Happy
It was fun to help Ed and Drew, to make new friends, which turned into clients, and even a new business channel opportunity that I had not even considered.
How would you like to travel around the country playing golf and helping course owners, Pros and management companies build their online visibility on LinkedIn? Maybe Hawaii next?
Please check out Sanibel Island Golf Club and connect with Ed Lockard and Drew Donnelly. Maybe even hold your next corporate sales golf outing or event with them. When you do, tell them Anne Pryor says hi!
My friend Andrew Ronningen, a retained executive recruiter and partner with a great guy, Doug Franchot, of Frachot Associates, met me for a meaningful connection lunch last week. I asked Andrew if he would share tips on how executive job seeker candidates can help recruiters be successful. He was thoughtful in his answers. See if you are doing these things on your LinkedIn profile:
1) KEYWORDS, keywords, keywords – recruiters search for keywords from the job descriptions. Be sure that your LinkedIn profile is updated with keywords for the positions that you are targeting. TIP: Update keywords in your Interest area each Sunday. I do and I come up higher in searches.
2) Add SKILLS – include technical skills that are listed on job descriptions. TIP: Add up to 50 skills. Recruiters with premium service get the top 24 LinkedIn profiles with top keywords skills searched pushed to them.
3) Ensure that the INDUSTRIES that you have experience in are listed in the profile. TIP: Change your Industry targeted each week. You’ll come up in different searches.
4) Add the ZIP CODE, city and state where you choose to live. Andrew said that he often starts a search within 25 miles of the zip code of the job he’s targeting. TIP: Change your zip code each weekend if you’re targeting different locations.
5) Add COLLEGES and HIGH SCHOOLS – Andrew often searches for colleges and high schools as many executives are interested in returning back to their hometown areas. TIP: If you don’t choose to add your high school to your education then put it in the Interest area or under awards, if you have them.
6) Add AFFINITIES to your profile – Andrew often searches for an executive candidate that my like to return back to their home community. An affinity might be the name of a MLB, NFL, National Football, or other college or high school team, leadership style, fraternities, sororities, associations or groups. TIP: You can add this to the Volunteer, Associations, Causes, Organizations or Interest areas and it will be picked up in search.
7) Get RECOMMENDATIONS – a LinkedIn recommendation can show characteristics not called out in the job descriptions. These can justify or solidify a candidate. TIP: Recruiters do look for back scratching (you give and they give you one). The first sentence of a recommendation is important.
8) Add MEDIA RICH FORMAT – recruiters like to see examples of candidate’s work. Andrew likes to see thought process. Often they can see the strategy and tactical skills with examples like reports, PowerPoint documents and whitepapers. TIP: If you don’t have such documents recreate a PowerPoint presentation to show process, strategy and thought leadership.
9) Number of CONNECTIONS matter – get more than 500+ connections. This ensures that if you’re in a sales role that you can hit the ground running. TIP: Be sure your connections are people you know, like and trust that know, like and trust you. Make sure the connections are in the Hubs that you are targeting.
10) Add GROUPS – recruiters join and leave Groups based on their targeted search. It’s important to participate in Discussions, recruiters take note of people starting and commenting in Discussions. TIP: Ask a smart, insightful question in a Group. When answering, be resourceful and add value.
11) Use INMAIL – Andrew uses InMail to connect with potential candidates. Check LinkedIn and respond via InMail quickly. TIP: If you do not respond within three days the InMails are returned to the recruiters.
12) PERSONALIZE INVITATIONS – Always personalize your invitation to a recruiter. Mention someone that you know in common or why you choose to connect. TIP: Don’t click the blue circle with the + sign or connect through a mobile app as these tools don’t allow for a personalized message.
13) BE OPEN TO LISTEN – If you receive a call or email from a recruiter, be open and listen to the opportunity. TIP: Even when you are not in search be courteous and reply to the recruiter. You never know when you will need their help. Recruiters remember people who help them.
14) Add a CURRENT position – even if you are not working have a title and industry in the Current position. This way you will come up in searches. TIP: Also add your Board Positions, Associations and consulting opportunities if you have had them. Recruiters want to know what you’ve been doing.
15) Add a GREAT PHOTO: LinkedIn statistics show that you are 7 times more likely to be clicked on if you have a professional picture. TIP: Andrew suggests that executives should dress as professionally as possible for the photograph. A Shirt and tie and suit is always appropriate.
16) Remove the words RESPONSIBLE FOR – recruiters are interested in quantifiable and measurable results, not just responsibilities. TIP: in the Experience area under description be sure to add your key accomplishments and measurable results.
I am proud to say that Andrew and I were colleagues at Carlson Marketing Group where he was a successful executive and general manager. Everyone loved working with Andrew – from colleagues to clients. He always had a unique approach – he listened, asked great questioned, cared and thoughtfully created solutions that client’s loved – and he and Doug have taken that approach at their firm – a partnership based approach between employer and employee.
Andrew said that he always looks in his resume database first. He invites you to send your resume to him at Frachot Associates. If you do, BE HELPFUL, if you are contacted by a recruiter and you are not the perfect candidate suggest other people in your network. TIP: Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn and keep your Connections open, when in job search.
Good luck to you, my friends,
by Anne Pryor
As a former Director of Marketing with Lifetouch, the world’s premier photographers of portrait memories, I have some expertise in eyeing a professional looking, attractive portrait. Here are some tips that I recommend:
Be Happy – Your state of mind matters. Feel good about yourself. TIP: Practice smiling, yep, you may not have done it in a while, so check out your smile in the mirror. Do you look better with or without teeth showing? I look better showing teeth showing, so I’ve been told. I actually laughed for one minute while sitting in my car in the parking lot before my portrait appointment. It put me in a great state of mind.
Be Comfortable, Current and Polished – What you wear matters. Does it portray the brand image that represents what you want to be known for, as my business partner, Kathleen Crandall would say? TIPS: It’s best to stay away from stripes, checks, plaids and busy prints in photos. Get a make-over if needed. Update your glasses, hairstyle and make up before the session. Check magazines for the latest styles. (I just visited ReVamp Salon Spa, Christopher Hopkin’s salon, in Minneapolis for tips on how to use make-up the right way for my face shape and age. Yep, I’d been doing it wrong from some 50 years! Christopher is my high school classmate and a make-over expert.)
Be Approachable – Close up head shots are great for the small space on LinkedIn. I suggest having the photographer also take a head and shoulder photo so that you have room to crop. (In case you have a large nose like I do and want to pull the shot back a bit.) TIP: Also, the background should complement your coloring and not be distracting.
Be Engaging – You look most engaged if you’re looking at the viewer; eyes toward the camera, and if you’re turned towards the copy on the page. Since LinkedIn changes the placement of the photo on the profile from time to time, I suggest posing left facing, right facing and straight on. (Most people like one side of their face better than the other, I do as well. (It’s the nose thing again.)
Be You – Some are opting for more “personality photos” and not the traditional head shot. This is fine depending on the brand image that you are trying to project. You may want to stand and try more freestyle posing. The photographers will work with you to get the most authentic pose.
The Technical Stuff – LinkedIn requires that you upload a JPG, GIF or PNG file (File size limit is 4 MB).
Special Photo Offer – I still appreciate the good work that Lifetouch does, so I had a photo taken at the JCPenney Portrait Studio. In case you didn’t know, Lifetouch owns and operates studios in JCPenney and Target stores nationwide. I’ve set up a partnership with Lifetouch to provide my friends with a special offer to get your LinkedIn photo offer from Meaningful Connections.
Just click here: Lifetouch Portrait Certificate LinkedIn Photo Offer.