Using Facebook For Your Job Search

We all know that “social networking” is the future of the job search process, (if you didn’t, you do now). For several weeks, I’ve been searching for the perfect resources to share with you regarding how to use Facebook to help you find your next position.

Before you get started, there are many cautionary tales. Stories of employees getting canned for complaining about their boss or company; or for pictures of improper conduct or illegal activity. What you put out in the stratosphere of the Internet WILL (notice I don’t use the verb can) come back to haunt you.

So starting right now, clean up all social networking sites you might have. And please remember that anything that you write down CAN be seen by just about anyone. Or printed out and shown to someone who works down the hall for you. Or copied and forwarded to your boss. Or found in a Google search by a potential employer. I really hope the seriousness of this issue is getting through to all of you.

So, on to the meat of this subject: “The Ultimate Guide to Using Facebook as a Job Search Tool.” What I like about this article is the step-by-step approach that is easily understandable by those who are not fully Facebook savvy.

And here is a very intriguing article that shows you how to take full advantage of the more than 300 million active users of Facebook: “Use Facebook Ads to Make Employers Hunt You Down

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles, and how utilizing any of these tactics might work out for you.

When a Job Search Coach Goes On an Interview . . .

Two days ago, I went on a job interview.

Yup, that’s right, a real live interview.

It was for a position that I have done before in a different location. I loved that job. Would have done it forever, if I could have. And so, when I saw a duplicate position open up here, I jumped at the chance.

But I felt added pressure, because hey, I’m also a Career Coach. Everyone knows that about me, and it says it on my résumé. I feel that now I have to do everything better than perfect, because now others have such high expectations of me. And let’s be honest, if you heard that I had bombed a job interview, what would you think of my coaching skills?

I thought you might be interested in how I prepared for this interview. Me – the supposed expert on job search strategy.

I spent a great deal of time preparing my résumé and cover letter; highlighting previous experience in the position, making sure to use the important keywords, listing the best of my accomplishments and successes in my past career – as they relate to this particular position. (Note: when a résumé writer or book says to list your accomplishments, they don’t mean a grocery list of everything you’ve ever done. What they are trying to tell you is that you should emphasize the successes and accomplishments the decision maker needs to hear. Is this a data entry position? Then listing how you typed a 600-page book for your previous publisher employer at 70wpm is important. The fact that you organized the office Christmas party might not be.)

I agonized over the cover letter. Did it “sell” me well? Did it convince the HR manager to turn the page to read my résumé?

Then I spent two more days proofing. Printing it out, scratching it up, doing the edits, and starting all over again. And again. Reading it aloud, and editing it all over again.

Finally, I said a quick prayer and sent the package off. But not just into the stratosphere. No, I had someone I knew well who worked at that organization hand-deliver it to the correct person.

Then I waited. Stressed and waited some more.

And yes, even a seasoned professional career coach can get the job search butterflies.

By chance, one day at Starbucks (I spend a lot of time there) I saw one of my potential coworkers getting a cup of coffee. I chatted him up and asked him how work was going. After a bit of conversation, he mentioned the “powers that be” had gone on vacation and wouldn’t be back for two weeks.

So I waited some more. But at least now I could wait without stressing about not getting an interview. . . yet.

Finally, oh joy of joys, I got THE call! I had an interview.

Then, my real work began.

I prepared my SMART stories for how they related to this position. (Actually, I did this while I was waiting for the call for the interview. Prepping helped deal with the stress.) I practiced by saying them out loud.

I thought about the questions I was most likely to be asked. And what my response should be.

I created a portfolio to take with me to the interview. In my portfolio I included additional copies of my cover letter and résumé, copies of past glowing evaluations, examples of my work, certificates of related training, and multiple letters of appreciation/recommendation – from previous colleagues, clients, and supervisors.

But what was most important were two different articles I prepared. One was a list of past accomplishments categorized as they specifically related to the duties of this particular position. And second, was a list of potential project ideas I had for the position with explanations on how I would implement them, again broken down by category. This is where I spent the bulk of my time preparing for this interview.

Then, I prepped me.

I did all those things women do when they want to make a good impression. I pulled out my favorite suit from my pre-baby days and did my dance of joy when it actually fit and looked good. I dyed my hair to get rid of the gray I had been ignoring. I got my nails and toes done. No, no one will see my feet as I wore dress boots under my suit, but it makes me feel good, and I wanted that added boost. I showered (Note: You might think it silly I point this out. Sadly from my recruiter days, I could tell you stories of candidates who came into my office with body odor issues. So folks, please shower and use deodorant.) and spent a good deal of time getting my makeup perfect. (Again with makeup. Please don’t overdo it. Get a professional to show you how to use it if you don’t know how.) I picked out the best jewelry accessories, which for this company would be very conservative, small, nothing dangling or gaudy.

And here is a bit of humorous advice. Pee before you go. People always laugh when I tell them this. But to me, there is nothing worse than being uncomfortable through an interview because you drank that huge cup of coffee right before you walked in. And sitting there feeling uncomfortable is only going to make you look like you’re uncomfortable being in the room. I think you’d would rather they perceive you as being calm and confident, wouldn’t you? (Note: If they offer you a drink before the interview, feel free to accept. Just don’t gulp it down, because hey, you don’t want it to hit you while you’re busy talking to the CEO. Just sip it slowly to keep your mouth from going dry.)

And off I went. I made sure to leave in plenty of time to get there, even if there was major traffic. I had the car full of gas from the day before, so I didn’t have to worry about filling up on the way.

And I got there with perfect timing. Just about four minutes before they were ready to begin. Just enough time to make friends with the receptionist before they called me in.

You must be wondering how the interview itself went. Now, that is a hilarious story, but one I can’t tell right now. I’m still waiting to hear . . .

Coaching Special Just For Twitter Fans!

That’s right, my Twitter buddies get a special deal from me all of their own!

Right now for the month of September, I have a Job Search Coaching Special. All you have to do is sign up for five job search coaching sessions, and you will receive the six one free!

To answer a few questions, you do not have to complete all sessions before the end of September, but prepayment is required to take advantage of the deal. And, yes, absolutely, you can take advantage of this deal as many times as you want during the month of September. You want to sign up for 10 sessions, you will get two free, and so on!

What is Job Search coaching? Job Search coaching takes you from the status of a passive job seeker (watching job boards waiting for the job to jump in your lap) to an active job seeker: developing a strategy, focusing on a list of target companies, learning how to network and actually like it, and what’s more – finding those job opportunities that AREN’T being advertised!

In this economy you need every advantage you can get, and using a trained Job Search Coach is just one of them!

To take advantage of this deal, just contact me at JulieMendez@jsmcareercoaching.com and mention the “Twitter Special.” Yes, feel free to pass this along to any of your Twitter friends. (Know someone that isn’t on following me on Twitter? Yes, they can take advantage too. All they need to do is send me a Direct Message.)

Learn more about all of my services at http://www.jsmcareercoaching.com/.

Get SMART About Your Job Search #1

Just like with resumes, gone are the days where you might just sit in an interview and list your duties and responsibilities. At least, gone are the days where that tactic might actually land you the job. (If it ever did.)

Nope, today, job seekers have to be more savvy and much more “sales” oriented. Now, please don’t freak out because I used the word “sales.” I’m not saying you have to have sales experience, or act like a tacky, used car salesman to get a job. What I mean is that you need to focus on presenting your skills and yourself (in essence, your product) in the best possible light. You need to focus on what the benefits to hiring you are for the employer.

(But more on marketing/sales job search concepts in future posts.)

One of the ways to really promote how you are the best fit for the position is use situation examples in the interview process. (This will also work great in your networking campaign as well.)

You’ve probably heard of the “STAR” (Situation/Task, Action, Result) acronym when dealing with behavioral interview questions. Behavioral interview questions are the “Tell me about a time when . . .” part of an interview. As a former recruiter, I can tell you that these questions are your opportunity to SHINE. I can’t emphasize that enough. The interviewer and decision maker will be listening very carefully to your answer – not just for the obvious “correct” answer, but for clues about how you will take those successes and apply them to the position in their company.

In the book, Job Search Magic by Susan Whitcomb*, a new way of dealing with these types of questions is discussed. She uses the acronym, “SMART.”

“SMART” stands for:
Situation and
More
Action
Results
Tie-in or Theme

What’s the difference? The difference is the tie-in or theme. This is where you link your “story” to what’s important to the employer: important issues, specific experience or competencies needed, etc. You can also use questions to turn this around and put the ball back in the interviewer’s court, a great way to glean more about the company’s corporate culture and true needs that might have not been truly addressed by the interviewer.

But more importantly, it focuses your entire interview process not on what you’ve done in the past, but what you can do for the new employer.

Do you recognize the difference? It’s a clear but subconscious shift in your thinking as the job seeker.

I suggest that you prepare no less than 3-5 SMART stories to use in your own job search process. Writing them down is a great exercise. Practice saying them out loud so you feel more comfortable using them. Be sure to prepare a couple of optional tie-ins ahead of time, as I personally feel as this is the trickiest and most uncomfortable part for job seekers.

I’d like to hear from you readers about how this strategy works for you, and I’d love to hear examples of your own SMART stories. In future posts, I’ll cover more ways to get SMART about your job search, including how to prepare for networking.

Good luck!

Julie Mendez

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*Just to clarify, I get no proceeds or kickbacks for this recommendation. I did, however take Susan Whitcomb’s Certified Job Search Strategist course and studied this book as part of my coursework. I recommend this book to any job seeker.

Recruiters Are Using Social Media Websites!

from Ere.net: “Recruiters Amping Up Interest in Social Media”

“ERE’s first Social Recruiting Summit gets underway Monday, appropriately enough, at Google world headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley. That it’s a sold-out conference should be no surprise, considering the virtual stampede of recruiters to social media.

Surveys in just the last month from Jobvite, Arbita, LinkedIn and others show the fascination recruiters have with social media. The Jobvite report found 72 percent of the surveyed recruiters will invest more in social networks this year. Contrast that with the 26 percent who expect to spend more on job boards.

The Arbita survey, coming at the question from a somewhat different angle, says 73 percent expect to spend the same or less on search engine marketing and social media; 93 percent of the respondents to that survey say they’ll spend the same or less on job boards.

Both show a legion of recruiters experimenting with social media. Referrals are still the recruiting gold standard, but the survey evidences an excitement with the potential that social networks hold, even if recruiters are still unsure how best to use them and how effective they will be in the long run.

For instance, Arbita found half the surveyed companies have no effective strategy for finding candidates on networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook. The company asked about strategies for sourcing candidates through their blogs and 85 percent said they have nothing effective.

No wonder the Social Recruiting Summit filled up. No wonder that so many recruiters stepped up to lead “Unconference” discussions, not only on tactics, but on how social media recruiting is likely to evolve over the next few years and how it fits into the overall corporate recruiting portfolio.

The picture that emerges from the pre-conference discussions on ERE and Twitter, and from the Arbita and Jobvite reports, is one of recruiter anticipation that pretty clearly says, “We’re not sure where there this train is heading, but we’re getting on.”

The Arbita survey has recruiters admitting that while metrics to support their marketing decisions are important, 62 percent aren’t happy with the quality of the data. Remarkably, 39 percent of the respondents don’t even see metrics and analytics as an important part of recruitment strategy.

That startling result lead Don Ramer, founder and CEO of Arbita, to rail in the report that, “Two generations after the invention of the relational database –- of Lotus –- we have 39 percent of the people who are responsible for staffing saying metrics and analytics are not an important part of their strategy.”

The Jobvite report at least had recruiters explaining their rationale for using social media: 77 percent use the networks to reach passive job seekers; 74 percent because of the lower cost, and; 72 percent to find candidates with hard to find skills or experience.

While Jobvite’s survey didn’t delve into strategic decision making and metrics, the respondents at least had a basis for making those judgments. Two-thirds of them had made hires through an online social network.

It may be foolish to dismiss the role of metrics and analytics in deciding where to focus your recruiting effort. But jumping on to the social media train is hardly foolish, even if the analytics aren’t there, yet, to be able to say with certainty whether the phenomenon will deliver the sort of results we want.

Peter Weddle, the well known recruiting publisher and consultant, has a contrarian view of the social media landrush. He blogged a few weeks ago that, “There is a great SCAM being perpetrated in the recruiting profession today. Call it “social capabilities ahead of the market.”

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, he wrote, aren’t ready for prime time: “These sites may be effective recruiting tools in 2014, but today they aren’t even close. To put it another way, they are social capabilities that are way ahead of the market, if the market you’re after is the one for talent.”

His evidence, though arguable as to its meaning, is worth considering. The short version of it is that people, especially the millenials, those denizens of social media, still look for jobs on job boards. And well they should. To twist a phrase from bank robber Willy Sutton, job boards are where the jobs are.

Social media, however, is where the world is. The only reason to post a resume on Monster is to find a job. Posting to LinkedIn or building a Facebook page or Tweeting is done by millions for purely social and business reasons, only some of which is directly motivated by job hunting.

Neither the Arbita nor Jobvite survey presages the imminent demise of the job board. Crystal ball gazers have been predicting that for years and they’re all still here and more seem to be coming every day.

Instead, what the surveys suggest and the interest in the Social Recruiting Summit reflects is that social media is becoming a part of recruiting’s toolbox, even if we aren’t sure how it will fit into a comprehensive strategy.”

Body Language in an Interview

You can be the most educated, most experienced, most qualified candidate on the planet, and yet you still won’t get the job.

Why is that?

Check out this article on CareerBuilder, “What Your Body Language Says About You.” It’s a very basic article discussing how your body language represents you to others.

Though it attempts to look to the positive (i.e. if you cross your arms over your body in a defensive gesture then you of course must be better suited to a job in the insurance industry for some reason), I think it’s more important that you become self aware of these habits. Do you habitually stand with your arms crossed over your body? Often people with have some of these habits and not even realize it.

If you’re in the middle of your job search, NOW is a good time to have someone close to you tell you the truth about how your body language is perceived by others. Ask a close friend who will tell you the truth and not sugarcoat it.

If you’re still not sure, stage a mock interview, complete with an “interviewer” sitting on one side of the desk and you on the other. Setting up a video camera is a great tool so that you can view yourself later. Your interviewer can pose all sorts of questions – from the difficult to possibly annoying and back to the basic questions. When you watch the tape, don’t listen to your verbal responses. Instead, watch closely to your physical responses.

Are your hands clenched and arms tight? Are you crossing your arms across your body when they question why you left your last position a little to forcefully? Do you constantly change the crossing of your legs, or do you tap the armrest constantly? Now is the time to be brutal with yourself.

Now, how do you stop these habits? The first step is to be conscious of them, then make a decision beforehand of what you will do when you notice you start your habit again in an interview situation, and finally practice it! If you seem to slouch and spread your legs out in an interview, you’re probably getting a little too “relaxed.” Practice finding a sitting position that is comfortable, but still shows that you are alert and attentive to the interviewer.

However, you don’t want to go the totally opposite direction! Being completely wound up, and “tight” will be perceived as you being uncomfortable, unconfident, and not wanting to be there! So you need to find a happy medium between the two. Practicing in front of a video camera or a mirror is the only way to do this.

Also, as an aside, I really recommend yoga for a long-term solution. Not only is it good exercise, for me it has been great for posture, strength, and flexibility. I also find it good for focus and for clearing the stress of the day out of your mind. You can’t worry about how you’re going to pay that credit card bill while you’re in the middle of downward dog.

Jobs With Meaning

If you are interested in working in the nonprofit sector, you should check out Idealist.org.

According to their website, “Idealist.org is a website that facilitates connections between individuals and institutions that are interested in improving their communities. Over 84,000 nonprofit organizations from more than 180 countries have created profiles on Idealist.org. They use these profiles to list information about their missions, programs, services, and opportunities.”

It’s possible to search for jobs, internships, or volunteer opportunities through the site. You can narrow the search down by country (great for Foreign Service spouses looking for new opportunities abroad) and you can review three postings before you register (which is free). You can network with other like-minded individuals through “Idealist Groups.”

Good luck and happy job hunting!

Twitter for Your Next Job

Hello all! My apologies as I slacked off on this blog in the past few weeks. New clients, teething children, my new certification course (through Job Search Academy – to become a Certified Job Search Strategist, but more on that later) have been sucking up most of my time. I’m hoping to have a better handle on things by now.

But back to the message at hand . . . .

Recently, a client asked me about all the buzz on Twitter. How it’s the new, hip, trendy way to find your next job. Of course, I’ve heard the buzz too and even read a few articles on the subject. Here are a few recommendations that I’ve received to help you get started on your Twitter job search path:

Leverage Twitter For Your Job Search

The Beginner’s Guide to Finding a Job With Twitter

How to Begin Your Job Search With Twitter

And of course, check out TwitterJobSearch.com. I’ve been told it’s still in beta. I checked it out, and I love the options to “retweet” or “follow” the job. It kind of looks like fun to me. And heck, we could all use a little more fun in the job search process, right?

We’ll be talking more about the Twitter in the job search later, as I continue to learn more. Feel free to post about your experiences with twitter and how you have personally been utilizing this new “in” resource.

And of course, if you ever want to follow me (or want me to follow you) you can find me on twitter at https://twitter.com/JulieMendez.

Looking for Guest Bloggers!

I’d love to have other Foreign Service spouses write about their experiences looking for work overseas, lessons learned, getting back into the workforce in DC after being overseas for awhile, and especially folks who have taken advantage of the “extra” employment opportunities – such as Manpower, Professional Associates program, distance learning services from FSI, that sort of thing. (And if you have additional ideas for me to take under consideration I’d love that too!)

Besides being published on my blog, I’ll be advertising them through my Facebook business page, twitter, LinkedIn, etc. And I’ll announce the dates when each article is being published, so the guest writers can share the link with their friends as well.

Thanks all! And feel free to pass this along to anyone whom you think might be interested.

Price Change Effective July 1st, 2009

As of July 1st, 2009, all introductory rates listed on my website (here), will disappear. After that time, only regular rates will be in effect.

So, if you want to lock in the lower, introductory prices now, NOW is the time to contact me! Email me at JulieMendez@jsmcareercoaching.com and let’s set up a time to chat and get you started on your path to a successful and fulfilling career!

Remember, you need to act now to take advantage of the discounted introductory rates!