New Year, New Job Search Strategy

If a new job is on your list of resolutions, which is #4 on most everyone’s list, right after weight loss, improved finances, and increased exercise, then it’s time to take a new approach to your search. There is no doubt that there are jobs available. If you haven’t been selected for interviews maybe it is time to take a quick look what you’re putting out there.

Your Top 4 Must-Do’s for 2016

Your Resume

SC&C Update resume for 2016Most businesses use ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software. Most of it is really good at pulling out useful information. It recognizes keywords in relationship to each other (which is why putting a list of keywords in your resume does not help—that can actually cause your resume to be kicked out of the system as “abuse”). Properly set up it can recognize industry-specific jargon or vernacular; it can recognize educational institutions, or even degrees earned or granted.

Amazingly, I have seen resumes for high quality programmers that never once used the word “programmer.” They may have created, designed, or initiated systems to drive high level processes, but never once designated themselves as being “programmers”. That plays havoc with the sorting algorithms for ATS software.

Your resume should not be generic. It should be customized for each job you’re applying for, and more specifically, it should incorporate the language of any advertisement related to the position. Those are the words they used. Those are the words they seek in responses. Give them what they want.

Your Cover Letter

Again, this should not be generic. Get the name of the person who is responsible for filling the position. Letters addressed to “To Whom It May Concern” do not concern anybody. If you put a name on it then it becomes that person’s responsibility to deal with it. It only takes a few online inquiries to find the right name to put on your cover letter.

Review your letter, too. It should not be “all about you.” It should tell the story of how your skills will help the company; how it will make the company more money, or increase the efficiency of a process. They don’t care whether your mom needs surgery or if you’re putting your brother through college. Tell them why the company will benefit by hiring you.

Ideally you’ll have a good general set of skills, but so do a lot of other people. Stand out by telling them your three best skills. If you have online certifications for particular skills, let that be known, too.

Your Approach

People get hired because they are the solution to an employer’s problem. Understand most of the pain-points of the employer you’re considering. If they’re having a problem with “X” and you’ve had a lot of experience with “X,” tell them that and, stipulating incomplete knowledge, try suggesting a solution. It may be the wrong solution, but it gives you a chance to show insight and perhaps elicit interest. People with problems love people that offer solutions. You’ll stand out from the crowd.

In 2014 17% of new hires were based on employee referrals; 2015 saw that number rise to 26%. This trend is likely to continue—LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Recruiting Trends

Your Referral Friends

SC&C your referral friendsIf you have found a company (or four) that you’re particularly interested in, track them on LinkedIn. Join groups related to the company; work on getting some LinkedIn connections within the company. Follow the discussions, ask questions, and if you’re capable, contribute answers. You’ll build credibility in the community.

Then when it comes time to apply for a position within the company, you can consult with your “friends” and see if they can give you a particular name to address your inquiry to. More importantly, you might get one of your newfound friends to recommend you for the position. More and more jobs are being offered based on internal references. Getting to know someone on the inside is often the key to success.

If you are working part-time, or are under-employed, there are plenty of organizations that will happily accept you as a volunteer no matter how sophisticated your skills are. It’s a great way to fill in time gaps in your resume and it garners respect from employers that you make the effort to keep yourself busy and productive.

Many companies don’t begin posting open positions until several weeks into the New Year. Even companies that are in the middle of a candidate search often put hiring on hold for a little while—Katharine Paljug

If you’re working but need to fill in some skill gaps, look online for training you can do at your own pace, or see what evening or weekend courses are available at your local college. Lots of courses start now to capture the people with resolutions to uphold.

With all your documents tuned-up, a new dedication to networking, and ambitions to fill in any gaps, you’re all set for the New Year. Make 2016 great!

Want to unlock the secrets of LinkedIn? Looking to take your profile to All-Star status and start getting unsolicited job offers? LinkedInSecrets.us has all the material to take your LinkedIn profile to the next level with tips, webinars, and Fred Susan’s new book, Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015.

4 Things You Must Do on LinkedIn

SC&C 4 Things to Do on LinkedInJob seekers seem to be missing a piece of a very important puzzle: even though almost 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates, only about 36% of job seekers are active on the site. If you are serious about your job hunt, sign on and start networking!

4 Must-Do’s for LinkedIn

Here are four things you can do to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile.

Complete it!

A complete, up-to-date, accurate LinkedIn profile shows that you’re serious about your career. When a recruiter comes across your page, if it’s lacking a lot of your vitals, they’ll simply move on to the next candidate. Those anonymous views that keep popping up could potentially be hiring managers or recruiters attempting to fill a job order.

Also, your complete profile will generally rank higher in Google search results for your name. More and more employers are screening prospective employees, and a well-written, complete LinkedIn profile would be a great nod to your professional status and dedication.

“Whether you like it or not, hiring managers are using social networks to screen job applicants,” explains The Under Cover Recruiter. “This means it is important to carefully manage your image on these types of sites.”

POWER TIP: Make sure your LinkedIn profile and resume complement one another rather than duplicate. LinkedIn offers the opportunity to be more casual and to expound on your background more so than a traditional resume – so use that to your advantage! Let your personality come through in order to reel in the hiring managers and recruiters.

Grow it!

LinkedIn is the one place where the captive audience is industry professionals; folks you would hope to meet at a networking event are right at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to connect with people you don’t know. The connecting and networking process is perpetual; the larger your network, the easier it will be to grow. If a potential connection is in your industry or works for one of your target companies, the principal of “six degrees of separation” could end up working to your advantage. That way, when you apply for a position, you’re a familiar name and face.

POWER TIP: Personalize every invitation. As Social Media Examiner puts it, “explain why they should connect with you, and you’ll find they’re far more likely to accept.” Which “is especially important when you’re trying to connect with prospects you’ve never met.”

Include a brief paragraph about why you’re looking to connect, what you have in common, and a possible call to action, where applicable.

Give it!

SC&C Give back on LinkedInAuthentic recommendations can spell the difference between a mediocre and an outstanding LinkedIn profile. Rather than sending a “Can You Endorse Me?” email, choose a few people with whom you’ve worked and write a glowing recommendation for them. Many will return the favor without being asked.

Writing a recommendation has other benefits as well. “Katherine Charapko, executive director of New York executive search firm, Amrop Battalia Winston, says her recruiters use recommendations to hunt down new prospects,” reports Forbes. “It’s a wonderful way to link through to people you may not otherwise find.”

Putting yourself out there on the profiles of others makes you more visible to the network. A recruiter who isn’t looking at your profile might be looking at that of your colleague.

POWER TIP: Write recommendations that are specific and detailed in order to quantify the accomplishments of that contact. This will likely lead them to return the favor, creating a complete overview of your career through the eyes of those who worked with you directly.

Get involved!

Now that you have a complete profile, robust network and several recommendations rounding out your LinkedIn page – don’t stop there! Your next step is to join some groups.

“If you walked into a party and stood in the same spot all night only talking about what you’ve done and what you are looking for,” explains Rachael Curtis of Katie Wagner Social Media, “you would probably have people ignoring you or avoiding you all together.”

You need to move around, mix it up, offer praise to others, comment on and begin meaningful conversations with your peers. The more you put yourself out there, the more eyes will land on your profile.

You can join groups for your industry and all of its niches, your college alumni group, or even your hidden talents that you want to explore.

POWER TIP: Establish yourself as an expert by starting your own group! As a job seeker, you could begin a group centered on your industry or area. This will show recruiters and hiring managers that you’ve taken initiative to make things happen for yourself.

Want to unlock the secrets of LinkedIn? Looking to take your profile to All-Star status and start getting unsolicited job offers? LinkedInSecrets.us has all the material to take your LinkedIn profile to the next level with tips, webinars, and Fred Susan’s new book, Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015.

 

What Can a Job Search Coach Do for You?

Should You Hire a Job Search Coach?

SC&C Job Search CoachYou may have very little recent experience searching for a job.  If you’ve been in the same position for five, ten, or even more years, the job search landscape has changed significantly enough that you will need at least some help.  Job search coaches are knowledgeable and skilled in all of the latest techniques and requirements for a successful job search.

They not only help you plan and execute your job search, they provide tools to help you become a better candidate.  They’ll help you with self-assessment to figure out where you belong in the work force.

Resume Writing

Job coaches help you with resume writing, showing you how to make it effective when dealing with applicant tracking software (ATS), where a computer program weeds out the irrelevant entries, but at the same time eye-catching enough when a human being actually looks at it.  You’ll learn how to properly target and influence employers.

Interview Practice

They will provide job search preparation to let you know what to expect, as well as tools to show you how and where to search.  These would include things like interview practice so that you’re comfortable and confident during the interview process.  And they won’t be shy about providing you research resources to help you explore new avenues, narrow your focus, or simply find employers that you would like to work for, along with what jobs are available.

Networking

SC&C Job Search Coaches can help networkFinally, a job coach will help you with your networking, showing you how to connect with people that are in your preferred field.  They’ll show you how to position yourself strategically in the target market so that you are ready to receive offers.

Finally once you have an offer, you’ll have all the information they can provide on how to negotiate your deal.  You’ll know what you need to ask for and what you can expect to get.

Selecting a Job Search Coach

You may have spoken with colleagues that have used the services of a career and job search coach, and they may have wonderful things to say about them. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a particular individual is some sort of universal panacea.

Selecting a job search coach is a personal experience. What works well for one person might not work at all for another.  If you were to Google “job search coach” you would get over 100,000,000 listings. Thus, if one of your friends has had an excellent experience with a particular coach, by all means, take the coach up on their free introductory session to see if their style and abilities might suit you.

Note, some coaches charge a large upfront fee before they’ll speak with you, and don’t offer a free introductory session.  I wouldn’t give Donald Trump $1 to give me business advice even though he’s smart enough to have failed and remade himself several times over.  Our styles would never mesh.  On the other hand I would probably get along famously with Elon Musk or Richard Branson.  The coach must fit you.

Benefits of Working with a Coach

When you have a coach in your corner you have someone that you report to on a regular basis.  This keeps your feet to the fire and obliges you to accomplish things because you’re going to have to report your activities and what actions you took.

In addition, you have someone to phone or make contact with when you’ve got problems, questions, or self-doubts.  You’ve hired them to give you advice, to help you fine-tune your activities, to provide an outsider’s perspective.  Make sure you take advantage of that.

They can provide insights about your plan, suggest new or more profitable actions, and even provide additional contacts that you can use in your job search.  Having someone like that gives you much more confidence.

By hiring a job search coach, your journey to a new job will be much briefer than if you undertook it on your own.  If you have been out of circulation in terms of job searching, a coach could be just what you need.

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Interpersonal Savvy

SC&C Interpersonal SavvyWhen it comes to success in a leadership role, such as a management or an executive position, it is very beneficial to possess a specific behavioral characteristic that is none other than that of Interpersonal Savvy.

Interpersonal Savvy reflects an influential leader with strong interpersonal communication skills both written and verbally. This includes the ability to understand, emphasize with and relate to all others, along with the willingness to hear and listen to all individuals.

He/she has achieved and maintained significant success in the workplace through the influence, development and management of strong relationships between staff, professional colleagues, clients and additional individuals throughout all levels of the career spectrum.

This is huge since communication skills are crucial in order to achieve personal and business success. As a result of developing and managing a strong group of team members within the workplace through positive interaction, encouragement, enthusiasm, sound discipline, understanding and overall highly effective communication skills, you will much more than likely achieve much greater success.

If done well, an encouraging and highly communicative leader who is Interpersonal Savvy will improve all areas of business encompassing customer relations and satisfaction, revenue growth, cost savings and the overall productivity of a company / organization. He/she will also more than likely improve staff performance through motivation, cooperation, understanding and so on.

Now, with that said and done, it is important for you to evaluate whether or not you possess this behavioral competency if you are considering in obtaining a, or moving up to a management or executive position. This is so you can prepare to sell this likability quality to a potential employer during the interview process.

In order for you to determine this, it is highly effective to draw on your past performance and achievements, and to decipher what personal behaviors you utilized in order to achieve major success.

For instance, did you achieve certain goals and objectives by listening to and communicating with others, building a solid rapport with employees and customers, by remaining positive, by taking an effective initiative or resolving certain issues / situations successfully?

As a successful executive, you have a strong awareness of your own personal behaviors – this includes your strong points, weaknesses and individual principles. And communication skills are essential for success in any industry and are key in creating a strong executive, talented at influencing and managing employees and additional professionals.

Thus, if you decide that you possess Interpersonal Savvy as a behavior competency following your evaluation; it will be very beneficial for you to sell this to an employer. Interpersonal Savvy is always great to promote! Good luck!

Stewart, Cooper & Coon has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Declining a Job Offer

You performed hours of preparation.  You jumped through all the hoops.  You attended interview after interview.  But in the end, there was something that just didn’t sit right.

Did they take too long to make the offer?  Did some of the people you’d have to work with turn out to be duds?  Maybe the CEO just made a startling decision to buy a floppy disk manufacturing plant in Idaho, claiming it was “the wave of the future.”

Whatever happened, you just don’t want to work there.  Naturally you still don’t want to burn any bridges, so you have to bow out gracefully.  But how do you do that?  After all you just spent weeks, or months, telling them how much you’d like to work for them.  What went awry?

There are many reasons why a job candidate might have to turn down a job offer–but it can usually be boiled down to three key areas: the money, the work itself, or the people at the company— Andy Teach author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time.

Why You Declined Job Offer

Have you been low-balled?

Some hiring managers still haven’t glommed on to the fact that the market has tightened; that there are fewer highly qualified workers available.  The 2008—2014 halcyon days of getting top talent at rock-bottom prices are over.  If they don’t realize that, you shouldn’t work there.

You had a better (or faster) offer.

It’s a seller’s market compared to the post-2008 era.  Those who offer adequate compensation, in an expeditious manner, are the winners in the hiring lottery.  Lots of applicants have multiple offers.  Employers with too many rounds of interviews and a lackadaisical approach to hiring either don’t get the cream of the crop, or do, but only because they’re on the wrong end of a bidding war.

Your new manager rubbed you the wrong way.

It’s vitally important to get introduced around the office.  If the person you will be reporting to grates on your nerves, it might be best not to get drawn into the potential conflict.  Your gut instincts are often correct; paying attention now can save you a lot of heartache later.

The commute is a killer.

Arriving at work in a foul mood can certainly hamper your productivity.  Is the traffic awful?  Does it take “forever” to drive at the time you’re expected to report for work?  If a test drive makes it clear that it is going to be too mentally taxing, you’re probably better off not getting involved.

Attitudes don’t jibe.

You overhear a couple of employees talking.  “Yeah the client is a complete idiot, but we’re just gonna have to go through the motions.”  Uh-oh!  It is probably best to avoid that sort of dynamic.

The work is too easy (or too difficult).

If you need a challenge to be productive and you just don’t see it, getting out now may be better than accepting and finding out how frustrating it is.  In the same way, finding out the three people just left the department, and you’re expected to take up the slack, could be overwhelming.

How to Decline an Offer

Be quick

When they make an offer they will seldom expect you to sign on the dotted line.  It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for a day or two to consider the offer.  If you have concluded that this is not the job for you, let them know as soon as possible.  The company still needs to be able to hire somebody from the remaining pool of choices, and holding them up unnecessarily is simply rude.

Be personal

Who made the offer to you?  Talk to them directly.  Leaving a “No, thanks” message with an assistant makes you look bad, leaves a bad impression, and pretty well eliminates the possibility of them considering you if a more suitable position should happen to arise.

Many job seekers overlook the opportunities to generate goodwill when declining a position, especially when they have another offer in hand.  But with a little thought and diplomacy, you can actually enhance your professional reputation and career during what can seem like a daunting task— Lynn Taylor, author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job 

If any of the circumstances are alterable, such as they have an opening with a different manager you would report to, or if you perhaps moved closer to their office, it could be prudent to mention that you would consider future offers.  They’ll likely appreciate your candor explaining why the job is unsuitable at this time.

In any case, be polite and be professional.  You may never work at that company but you might meet that same hiring manager in a different company in the future.  The positive impression you leave could serve you well.

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. The site and book will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Considering Relocating

SC&C Relocation considerationsAs you stand in your backyard staring down at your lawn you can see past the green tips all the way down to the dry, crumbly soil, pierced by the stalks of the individual blades of grass that are yellow and sickly looking. How does everybody else manage to have such a nice green lawn?

It’s not until you ask yourself this question that you notice for the first time as you’re walking the dog that “Wait a minute…everybody else’s lawn looks terrible too, when you get up close to it!” This, in fact, is the source of the observation that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence“.

When you’re observing something obliquely, and only looking at the very surface of it, there can be an ethereal quality that makes it beautiful. If you get closer to look at it in detail it is probably just as banal and commonplace as the work-a-day world around you, complete with foibles and imperfections.

Relocating

So why is relocating for employment always amongst the top five reasons why people choose to move? Of those that do so, half of them move out of their original state. Clearly, in some cases, it is necessary. If you want to work for the Disney Corporation, it’s very likely you’re going to end up either in California or Florida (or Paris!). If you want to work for one of the Silicon Valley corporations, guess which silicon-laced valley you’re going to be living in. Certainly not a big intellectual leap!

On the other hand, if Google is where you want to be, you may not have to travel so far. On this continent they have six offices on the West Coast, two Central offices in Colorado and Texas, nine more in the East, three in Canada, and one down Mexico way.

Consider Relocation Carefully

If you’re unattached and ready to pick up and go at a moment’s notice that gives you an incredible amount of versatility in selecting a job and for some employers that is a great asset. Others will look at you strangely, wondering if there’s anything that will hold you in place, or if you’re likely to up and disappear in three months.

Issues of Relocating

If, on the other hand, you’re married to a spouse who has a burgeoning local career, have kids in school, and live in the old neighborhood surrounded by relatives, then moving can become very problematic.

When you live far away from your familiar resources and need a babysitter, you can no longer “drop them off with grandma.” When you and your spouse are working late, the kids can no longer just “stop off at your sister’s place” to wait until one of you is available.

Along with your kids, you and your spouse will be giving up friends, neighbors, and relationships that you’ve had for years or decades. FaceTime is no substitute for the personal relationships you may have spent years cultivating.

New Environment Differences

SCC Are you ready for a big cityDepending on where you currently live, and where you wind up, major aspects of your life can change, too. Moving to or from a suburban Wyoming town, where the other end of the trip was Manhattan Island, can be a shock. A new environment can be quite different than where you have been living and working. A few questions to consider:

  • Will the new environs be intolerably busy or quiet?
  • Will your new neighborhood be safer or more dangerous than you’re used to?
  • How will that affect your finances?

Relocation Costs

SC&C cost-benefits analysisIf you’re leaving behind a rent-controlled apartment in New York City (even a horrible one, with the bathtub in the kitchen), you could still sublet it, generating enough income to pay your mortgage twice in Wilmington, Delaware.

Going the other direction, the new employer might have to offer you twice your previous income in order to be able to afford to live in New York City. Be prepared for significant changes.

As an example, in NYC, housing costs are 3½ times the national average; healthcare 125% of average; utilities are 28% higher, and transportation is about 31% higher.

[Something] to think about is whether the organization has shown its commitment to you by assisting with relocation costs. That won’t always happen, but when it does it’s a great sign. If an employer isn’t committed to you from the very beginning, you might not want to pick up everything and move for them—Alexandra Levit

Most companies offer compensation for significant moves to new employees. Failing that, you should expect to pay a professional mover about $2,500 to load, transport, and unpack a single mobile storage container. That’s sufficient to hold the contents of a one-bedroom apartment. And the distance covered would be about halfway across the country from any starting point.

Conditions

Do you think your beach-laden upbringing in Southern California has hardened you sufficiently to withstand a Buffalo, New York winter? Are you an ardent skier faced with an excellent job prospect on the Gulf Coast of Texas? You can only work so many hours a day and sometimes you have to go outside. Will you be able to stand the environment?

This new job you’re looking at may require longer hours; there may be a significant travel-component that could be unbearable after a year or two. Can you adapt to the changes, or can you foresee a way to advance your career so that these conditions might no longer impact you?

Learn About the Destination

A little searching on the World Wide Web can go a long way toward settling your concerns about a new city. You’ll often find forums about people who have changed cities for employment purposes, and contributors share their stories about good and bad experiences in various cities.

Even if all the other factors about the move are favorable, make a point of checking out the availability of alternate employment in the destination city. If things go sideways with the new employer you should still be confident that there is other adequate work for you without entailing yet another move.

Where to Go

That is actually hard to say because the employment picture is so volatile. Last June (2015) Des Moines, Iowa, was the metro area that had the most optimistic forecast for hiring, with 28% of employers expecting to increase the size of their workforce. Nashville, Tennessee, had an almost identical number. Hot on their heels were San Antonio, Texas; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Any recommendations placed here will be outdated very quickly, so it’s best to investigate your target town as opportunities arise and make your assessments based on current information.

If you’re single and can pick up and go, make sure there are multiple opportunities at the destination in case things don’t work out. A little research can save you multiple moves.

If you have a family don’t come home one day and tell your spouse that they have to give up their legal or medical practice; tell your children that they will “find new friends;” tell your relatives that they can still come down and visit you in Louisiana in the wintertime. It won’t matter a tinker’s dam how great this job is if it rips your family apart.

You may have been faced with double-digit unemployment figures for a very long time, or even persistently high single-digit figures. Your sudden euphoria at finding the “perfect job” is no justification for uprooting everybody and throwing them into turmoil.

Perform your research and do this in a consultative way with a cost-benefit analysis, making sure you research the potentially bad outcomes as well as the good ones. With the improving employment market you may find that searching for something local for another three months is more sensible than a dramatic change.

Personal Website—Yes!

Do I need a personal website?

SCC Personal Landing PageSo much of what is on the World Wide Web is under the control of others. Do you not deserve a space that is all yours? Absolutely!

And it’s certainly not difficult. There are ready-made templates where you simply cut and paste your predesigned text, select a color scheme, choose some background images, and you’re done.

A website is the complete opposite of a resume. Everything bad about resumes can be fixed simply by having a website. I’d go as far as to say that not having a website is like shooting yourself in the foot – it’s that useful. — Thomas Frank

It doesn’t have to be much–just a landing page, a short biography, and a list of accomplishments. It can be a great deal more if you want to talk about a pet project, a deserving charity, or share your knowledge with the world at large.

Of course you could rely on other people to get it right, but frankly, they won’t. It will be colored with opinion, conjecture (and likely some facts), but it’s quite probable that much of that would be highly apocryphal, too.

Setting the Point of View

You need one—so now you have to make a choice. Are you going to write it in the First Person and say I did this and I did that, or are you going choose Third Person, and say Your Name, Chief Executive for X Company, and noted philanthropist…

If you elect to go with First Person, it’s probably best to go with friendly, open, self-effacing, modest commentary and stories about hard work and dedication, dreams, and goals. This prevents you from sounding like a raging egomaniac.

Make It a Biography

The easier road is to write in the Third Person, treating it much more like an impartial biography. You get to delve into greater detail, from an omnipotent viewpoint, explaining values and reasoning, and all the time avoiding the pronoun “I.” (Take a peek at http://www.trump.com/biography/, for example. Politics aside, it’s a decent personal web page).

It allows you to be much more matter of fact with statements such as “Your Name was influenced by X early on which led to Y. With a little gifted-insight, Z seemed almost inevitable, leading to the eventual climb to Chief Executive for Company XYZZY.”

Personal Website Benefits

  • You are in charge of your own branding. Humans are visual creatures so the images you select will say a great deal about you. If you’re into high-tech, an icy-blue basement full of expensive powerful network servers; if you’re a real estate magnate, office towers.

    Even the font you select speaks volumes. It can show character, or personal style. YouSCC Personal Website can be conventional, an oddball, or a throwback to a previous century. Unlike sites such as LinkedIn, you get to make choices that present you in a specific light.

  • You’re the Curator. Lead off with a Mission Statement. Tell people what you’re all about, and where you are headed. Tell them what you expect to accomplish. Include a nice large photograph of yourself if that suits your style, surrounded by children from the charity you want to promote; shaking hands with the President; presenting an award to a worthy peer. And put any of these directly beside your blog telling why these particular images are important.

    Offer your profound insights to your peers and followers. Build your reputation as a thought leader in your field; as an innovator in your industry; as an instigator of social change, or technological advance.

  • Make sure your contact information is prominent, with conventional methods of contacting you, as well as links to your social media. Escaping the confines of a LinkedIn profile doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain one there. That is where recruiters and associates look first. But don’t forget to show your connections to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media (if it is relevant).

    For years, prominent authors, musicians, politicians, and other personalities have used websites to raise their profiles and provide a place to showcase their careers. Having your own website sends a message that you care about your professional image, and good, relevant content shows you put time and thought into your job— Charles Pooley

What Should I Include?

  • Mission statement/elevator pitch: Yes
  • Life story: No, unless it’s damned fascinating; you can always add it as a separate page if you think it belongs. It’s your page.
  • Major Accomplishments: Yes. This is where you get to tell people how great you are, and all the wonderful things you’ve done. This is where you convince them that you’re worth listening to.
  • Minor Accomplishments: Less so, unless they’re particularly relevant. Attention Spans are notoriously short so place the good stuff up front and put the tidbits for treasure hunters on secondary pages.
  • Contact information: Enough said.
  • Your Blog: Yes. If you don’t have one, start one. Even if you have no readers yet, that information will become significant in time. People will look at earlier Blogs to see the origins of your amazing insights. Just make sure it’s up to date—a blog that hasn’t been updated for six months makes the entire site look old. If you’re not a great writer, sketch out your ideas and hire somebody to turn it into beautiful prose for you. If you’re a success you already know how to delegate.

Now that you have made it, promote it. Add it to your LinkedIn account, your Facebook page, if it is relevant, your e-mail signature line, and your business cards. You’re only making it easier for people to find you to consult with you, to offer you jobs, to share information.

Career Resources for Retiring Military

For those who have decided to end their military adventure, whether it is three years or 20, there is plenty of advice available that reminds you to start planning 18 months before ETS (Expiration—Term of Service). It begins with recommendations to build a profile on RallyPoint, a website very much like LinkedIn, designed by Iraq veterans in 2012, for those in the Services.

RallyPoint for Retiring Military

SC&C RallyPoint for Professional MilitaryIn particular, RallyPoint offers listings for 13,000 employers, most with multiple positions, who are looking to hire veterans. As well there are over 2,000 universities that want you to take advantage of your GI Bill to obtain further education to make you a more valuable asset to the employment market.

RallyPoint, and other similar services, advise using automated translation services to convert your military experience into something that civilians will understand. For example the skills translator at www.military.com, requires at least one entry in one of three fields. You can go through it in a systematic way and select your service (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Navy), and then select your pay grade (E1-E10, W1-W5, O1-O10), and finally, your military job title, or the numeric designation.

For example, in the job title, if I just enter 0101, it immediately knows that is a Marine Corps designation for either an Officer or Warrant Officer, under the designation Basic Personnel and Administration Officer. It then tells me that there are 500 matching jobs for that particular designation, in locations all over the country from Maine to Florida, from Washington to California—just about anywhere you can imagine.

Currently there over 300,000 members on active duty, and well over a quarter of a million veterans, ready to offer advice. The latter have already gone through much of what you’re about to go through. Their experience can smooth your exit and employment process.

Companies Focused on Hiring Service Members

SCC companies hiring militaryJust about any company you can imagine wants to hire you, at least the particularly clever ones. Their HR (Human Resource) people know that, although you come from a strikingly different working culture, your training is second to none, and superior to most. They know they couldn’t ask for a better employee.

A quick search at the first few pages of potential employers for just that single designation reveals names like Spherion, Amazon, Comcast, Sears, Randstad, Reynolds, United Health Group, U.S. Cellular, Manpower, and so on. So there is really no shortage of companies who want you. It’s more a question of what sort of job would you like and what state would you like to live in.

If Afghanistan or Iraq made you hate the heat, the sand, and the dust, maybe a stint in Alaska will serve to cool you down. Or maybe consider the menu in your venue! Down Louisiana-way you can get Cajun food, or try Maine for lobster, Wisconsin for cheese, and I hear you can get crabs in Maryland!

Recruiting Firms for Retiring Military

Firms like LUCASGROUP make a particular point of seeking out retiring military. Their military recruiters are former military personnel themselves. They are experienced and equipped to deal with your questions. Any problems you run into, they’ve seen dozens of times before, and they have ready answers for you.

Similarly, Bradley-Morris, Inc. is part of the solution as well as your advocate, because their military recruiting personnel are also a former military. Like they say, it takes one to know one.

If you happen to be a JMO (Junior Military Officer) it could be that Cameron-Brooks is the place for you, since that is all they do. One of their customers even went so far as to say their training system is like giving each JMO a mini-MBA.

As well, Booz Allen has been in business for a century and is an “Employer of Choice” for former and transitioning military personnel. They have page after page of positions available.

There are plenty more available that are easily located with a simple Google® search. Some will be better than others, but try to find one that is reasonably close, to facilitate face-to-face meetings.

Military Job Fairs

Veteran job fairs roll around fairly regularly. Since one-third of the U.S. workforce is comprised of ex-military, recruiters are anxious to get their fair share. One veteran-owned site, recruitmilitary.com, tells what is happening over the course of the next month, but if you click “See All Events” the schedule opens up and actually shows events as far ahead as December 2016.

Attending one of these events that happens to be close by is not a bad strategy, but while you’re on their website, don’t forget to look at the 986,000 jobs that they have listed.

Surmounting all is a map of the country showing where the fairs are going to take place. Sadly you won’t find any events in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, New Mexico, Arkansas, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Hawaii, or Alaska, but for the continental United States, in most cases there is something else nearby.

The Failure Point—PTSD

Finally, this is the sad part. Undoubtedly there are lots of opportunities, and the biggest failure point seems to be returnees not accepting the fact that they might have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and seeking appropriate treatment for it.

SCC PTSDSome ex-military personnel, both male and female, are homeless and living on the street because they can’t cope; they assume that PTSD is a weakness—a failing of some sort—rather than a very treatable psychological disorder.

Not getting treatment is an incredible waste of resources and very expensive training. If you have any doubts, or experience rages, sleeping problems, or mood disorders, schedule an appointment and get assessed. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that you don’t drive a vehicle until it breaks; everything, including you, requires maintenance. Get that taken care of ASAP. It’s not your fault and you really can’t fix it on your own.

It might take a lot of work over the course of months with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), or it might be individual or group sessions for just a few weeks, and, in concert with your physician, a prescription might be in order for a completely non-psychotropic drug (does not affect your motor skills, your ability to think, cause drowsiness, or make you feel “high”, except occasionally for transitory side effects during the first 24 to 48 hours which usually dissipate). It simply allows your brain to cope with stress more easily.

Being on full-time, high-alert changes your brain chemistry. Get the help you need now. That might include a modality consisting of multiple regimens. I truly hope the preceding section doesn’t describe your current situation but, if it does, get help and get it handled. This is not a one person job. It requires a team. Think of yourself as the sniper and the Doc as your spotter. Without each other you are both helpless.

Careers for Your Skill Sets

I’m coming home, I’ve done my time…

SCC Leaving MilitaryNow you’re faced with integrating back into the civilian work force. That can be an intimidating task for some strange reason. But you have to ask yourself: “Why is that a problem?”

You’re an expert in so many ways; you have training that exceeds most available in the civilian world. In important measurable ways you are a superior candidate for just about any job available. The last thing you should lack is confidence!

The biggest stigma holding veterans back is the belief that military experience does not transfer to the business world. This is simply untrue. […] They have exercised dedication and commitment; worked as a team toward a common goal; supervised and motivated people; and developed the confidence to lead and make calculated decisions. Their experience is highly applicable in the business world.–John A. Meyer, Chief Executive Officer, Arise Virtual Solutions Inc.

Careers for Military Experiences

You probably have experience supervising and directing troops. You could be a training and development manager that pulls down a salary of almost $100,000 a year in air-conditioned comfort. Certainly a Production Manager in industry is well within your skill set for $90,000 a year, and you get your own office!

Were you in the Corps of Engineers digging tunnels, building bridges, and putting up housing? You could be a Construction Project Manager that pulls down over $80,000 a year. Your organization skills are superb; managing work schedules, completion dates, and organizing deliveries of materials would be right up your alley.

A […] key aptitude for a great project manager is strong coordination skills. Not only must they be able to budget and schedule their own tasks, they must be able to keep everyone involved in the project focused, on budget and on time. Precise attention to detail allows a great project manager to complete phases of a project on time and on budget.– yadconsultingllc.com

Another kind of engineer makes software, and in the civilian world that’s worth about $85,000 a year. Even as an Administrative Services Manager you can pull down over $81,000 a year—pretty good for the company clerk, right?

If you spent a lot of time installing communications equipment in the field, wouldn’t it be nice to do a similar job in an air-conditioned building, wearing a clean business suit that will never see a speck of mud? Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers collect about $55,000 a year for that.

It goes on. If you’re the hands-on engineering type, you can still get your hands dirty for almost $51,000 per year as an Industrial Engineering Technician.

And there’s no doubt that you’re a paperwork expert! Anyone who’s been in any branch of the service is a paperwork expert. If you know how to file and you’re terrific with following procedure, you could be a Paralegal pulling down $47,000 a year.

SCC Truck DriverIf you need some alone-time to gather your thoughts and make some plans, the trucking industry needs 100,000 new drivers each year with an annual salary of $40,000. That’s a nice low pressure job where you get to see the country.

But if you need action, if you need to be on the go and ready to help, you might consider being an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) working with the county rescue service, an ambulance service, the fire department, or even in a hospital emergency room, trauma center, or triage. You should easily make over $30,000 a year, and in some cases much more.

Your Experience and Skills Do Translate

Whether you’re a helicopter pilot or a jet fighter pilot with a crystal clear career path ahead of you in civil aviation, or from some of the more conventional services mentioned above, there is very little standing in your way between a long and successful (and profitable) career in the civilian world.

If anything, you’re overqualified, which should make many of these jobs uncomplicated and simple for you. Your real challenges come from another area.

Fitting In

I’ve worked with military personnel before and you know the greatest difficulty I’ve faced? Getting them to relax and not reverting to staring straight ahead whenever they feel a bit out of their depth.

Seriously people, the one habit you have to break from being in the military is that the business world works on input from everybody. It’s far less of a top-down structure, and more like a group of reasonably intelligent people reaching a consensus. It’s a much slower process than you’re used to, so give it some time to work, and be prepared to participate. It may feel strange at first, but your particular perspective is valuable; you have a lot to contribute and a great deal of knowledge to share.

I hope I’ve broadened your perspective on the possibilities that exist. There are many, many prospects out there for you, and they’d all be lucky to have you.

For powerful lessons and key insights into LinkedIn, read the informative new book, Leveraging LinkedIn For Job Search Success 2015. This book contains all the secrets you need to be found by companies and recruiters on LinkedIn and have them quickly “get” your value to their company or client. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and many other outlets.

A Picture Is Worth A Lot on LinkedIn

By Fred Coon, CEO
Stewart, Cooper & Coon

SC&C Blank LinkedIn Profile PictureWhat does your LinkedIn profile picture say about you? I was skimming through my newly released book, Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015, and came across this topic about profile pictures. I’m surprised at the number of LinkedIn users who have a blank image for the profile picture or use an inappropriate shot. Your profile picture conveys that first impression to potential employers and recruiters. Once that image is stuck in their heads, that’s how they will visualize you while they read your credentials and determine who you are. Don’t give them a bad impression.

Here are a few tips on “visual connectivity” from Jay Block for having the right profile picture:

  1. Hire a professional. Use a professional photographer to snap a picture for your profile. It is worth the investment.
  2. Only include you. You don’t want to use a picture with you and your family, or your business partners, in it. It is your LinkedIn profile, not the family’s or company’s.
  3. Have a good expression. Smile in your photo. Be energetic and engaging.
  4. Be professional. Dress professional in your photo and have an appropriate background. Here’s where a professional photographer can help. Have a black & white photo? Is your head tilted?
  5. Use your face. Your face should make up about 60% of the picture. Don’t be standing on a mountain in a long distance shot. No one can see who you are then.

Make sure you upload a photo to your LinkedIn profile. Your profile looks incomplete if you don’t have a picture, and what does that tell a recruiter? That you don’t see projects through completion.

 Read more about this topic and additional tips in the POWERFUL new book, Leveraging LinkedIn For Job Search Success 2015. This book contains all the secrets you need to be found by companies and recruiters on LinkedIn and have them quickly “get” your value to their company or client. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and many other outlets.