Networking

26
Apr

How to Successfully work with Recruiters from Head Hunting firms

You have decided that you want to reach out to a recruiter and gain their assistance in your job search. You have contacted several of them, but none of them have responded and you can’t understand why. I have had several of my clients get jobs through recruiters, so thought that I would share how to work with a recruiter and gain their attention in a good way! In order to do this you must first understand how a recruiter works, who they work with and how they get paid.  Below are few highlights that will be helpful for a jobseeker.

Do you have unique skills? First off, recruiters do not recruit for easy to fill positions, there are hundreds of suitable candidates that can be easily found. For example, if you have an MBA and no experience it is unlikely that a recruiter will be searching you out to promote you to an employer. If you have just completed your MBA and have ten years of experience in a field that is in high demand, then you could be of interest to the recruiter. Understand what your unique skills are and how these  make you marketable.

Recruiters are Specialists. Most retained executive search consultants have very specific niches. They know lots about the industries, job functions, and employers in their space… and probably not much about other industries. So when reaching out to recruiters, do you homework and find out what types of positions they recruit for and make sure your interests and skills fit with these. If you approach a recruiter who recruits for IT, and you are looking for a Business Development role, they will probably not respond to you.

They Are Interested in Hearing From You … provided you are in the area they recruit for! That doesn’t mean that they’ll take every call and respond instantly to every email, because …

Their Priorities are Different From Yours. You want a job…they have jobs…perfect match, right? Not necessarily! Recruiters work for (and are therefore loyal to) their clients, the hiring companies. They have no vested interest in any particular candidate.

They Are Not Sitting Around Waiting for Candidates to Contact Them. A key part of their job is scouring all of their vast resources and contacts to find potential candidates for specific opportunities.

Can They Find You? If you’re not visible in your industry, not easily found online, don’t work for a prominent company, or don’t have a decent network, recruiters may never find you. Start by posting a well-written, keyword-rich, accomplishment-loaded profile to LinkedIn – a favorite resource for recruiters!

Establish Interest Before Sending Your Résumé. A quick phone call or email to determine if there’s a common interest is a great way to launch a relationship with a recruiter in your space. Then, assuming mutual interest, forward your resume.
Get to the point in Your Resume. The first half page of a resume should provide the recruiter with the key skills you have to offer and the rest of the resume should back it up. Make sure your resume is sharply focused, easy-to-skim and easy-to-read. It must error free and well laid out.

Be Polite. Never launch into your “elevator pitch” without first determining that the recruiter has a few minutes to chat. Ask questions, don’t just spew out information. Listen to learn what is important to that recruiter, given current searches and anticipated needs.

Understand that the Right Fit is Paramount. Recruiters don’t match “a” candidate to a job; they recommend “the” best candidate given everything they know about the job, its challenges and opportunities, the company and its culture, and you – from their very careful interview and vetting process.

Be Transparent. Recruiters need to know it all – your compensation expectations, your reasons for leaving a job, your strongest interests, your ability to relocate and travel, and much more as they strive for that great fit. If you are less than honest and less than forthcoming, you’ll lose that recruiter’s trust and never be considered again.
Don’t Take It Personally If You’re Not Chosen. You’ll never know everything that’s behind any particular search or client situation. Recognize that the recruiter is doing his or her best job for that particular client.

Stay Connected. As mentioned, recruiters specialize! Stay on their radar screen and you may be contacted for other opportunities – now or in the future.  Most importantly, understand that recruiters are just one channel in an executive’s targeted search strategy. They can be extremely valuable during your search and throughout your career, but they are never the only avenue you should pursue when looking for work. You must recognize their needs and priorities to build a positive relationship and create a happy matchmaking environment.

About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks

Dorothy is a certified résumé writer with 25 years of experience in providing career advice and support to 5,000 professionals in diverse industries including technology, science, gaming, trades, finance, manufacturing, warehouse, and administration to find fulfilling careers. Through her work she has gained a solid understanding of the needs of British Columbia’s dynamic labour force. Her expertise in developing résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters  has helped her clients move forward in their careers. For more information visit www.fwt.bc.ca or contact dorothyk@fwt.bc.ca

8
Mar

Networking for Introverts

Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not shy individuals who do not like people. Rather, the 52% of people who categorize themselves as introverts simply find many social interactions draining and need time to recharge after being around people. These people can find the job search norm of “getting out there and meeting people” at networking events particularly challenging. However, like it or not, networking events are a key component of a successful job search and being an introvert in no way means that you cannot be a skilled networker.

Here are some tips to get the most out of networking events, particularly for the introverts out there:

Do your research

Generally, introverts prefer to have time to think ideas through and organize their thoughts before speaking. While a networking event with continual introductions to new people might not immediately seem like the obvious place to be able to think things through, you can minimize your stress by researching prior to the event. Most networking events will have an online registration page, confirming the schedule for the evening, any guest speakers, and often even a list of those who will be attending. Take the time to review this information beforehand, familiarize yourself with other registrants and plan possible conversation topics.

Plan your agenda

What do you want to get from the event? Do you want to meet potential employers? Gather industry information? Or, source candidates for informational interviews? Either way, setting your agenda before the event will increase the likelihood of meeting your personal objectives.

Set some targets

If you find networking events draining, you may be tempted to leave after 20 minutes or speak to one person and then secure a lone position at the bar. If this sounds like you, set yourself some targets before the event. Decide the minimum amount of time that you can stay for and/or the minimum number of people that you can have a conversation with – you never know, you might even exceed these!

You are not alone

Approximately 80% of people feel uncomfortable at networking events. If this is you, you are not alone. If nerves get the better of you, it is too easy to convince yourself that: everyone there knows everyone else; no one would want to talk to you; or you cannot bring any value to the conversations. This is not true. Event attendees are all at the event for the same reason, to talk to people. Practice makes perfect – the more you network, the more comfortable you will become.

Choose carefully and don’t get stuck

Once you arrive at the event, who are you going to talk to? Look for other individuals who are standing alone (usually by the bar or the food table!) or chat with the event organizer(s) who will usually be happy to introduce you to another attendee. Another good place to position yourself is close to the registration table, as people arrive they will also be looking for someone to engage with.

It is important that you don’t only talk to one person at the event. If you are nervous, you may be happy to stay with that one person so that you don’t have to start over again. However, this is not the purpose of networking events and won’t help you meet your objectives. After a short conversation, thank them for their time – arranging to stay in touch if appropriate – and move onto another person.

Don’t only talk shop

While networking is an essential part of job search and career management, you should not only be talking about business. Be aware of current events and local, uncontroversial news so that you can make small talk. The weather is always a popular conversation starter, as are questions about the venue and whether they have been to the event before. Avoid conversations about politics or religion, and never put anyone on the spot by asking for a job.

Don’t overindulge

Many events will offer appetizers and alcoholic drinks. If you are nervous, don’t over indulge in the wine or beer for some “Dutch courage” – you don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons. Limit yourself to one or two social drinks or stick to the club soda. Similarly with any food, ensure that you don’t opt for any items which will be difficult to eat when having a conversation (e.g. anything with gravy/sauce) or will leave unsightly green bits in your teeth!

Smile!

You might be nervous, drained and/or ready to go home but make sure that you keep smiling!  Friendliness is incredibly influential to your likability, and ultimately, your employability.  If you are standing on your own, someone is much more likely to approach you and start a conversation if you are smiling genuinely and standing with open, welcoming body language.

Now work your magic!

As I said, being an introvert does not mean that you cannot be a skilled networker – you simply develop these working relationships in a different way. If you met someone interesting at the event, reach out to them and invite them for a coffee and follow-up conversation. This one-to-one networking is often where introverts thrive, able to strengthen relationships through in-depth and thoughtful conversation.

 

About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks

Dorothy is a certified résumé writer with 25 years of experience in providing career advice and support to 5,000 professionals in diverse industries including technology, science, gaming, trades, finance, manufacturing, warehouse, and administration to find fulfilling careers. Through her work she has gained a solid understanding of the needs of British Columbia’s dynamic labour force. Her expertise in developing résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters has helped her clients move forward in their careers. Contact www.fwt.bc.ca or dorothyk@fwt.bc.ca

20
Jan

LinkedIn not just for job search

Many people assume LinkedIn is just for people who are looking for a new job and often miss opportunities and learning. Understanding your purpose for being on LinkedIn and then creating a profile that fits is key to successfully using LinkedIn in a way that benefits you the most. LinkedIn is not Facebook it is an online business-networking source. Here are what you need to think about when creating your LinkedIn or changing the current profile to maximize results.

  • For Entrepreneurs: with a strong profile and actively participating in groups and posting interesting relevant articles you will raise an awareness of your company and will bring business to your firm.
  • For Companies bidding on contracts: sometimes when companies bid on contracts the company look at the LinkedIn profile of key members to see if they have strong skills and to determine the stability of the firm. I have seen this with engineering firms and social service firms.
  • LinkedIn as a learning tool: LinkedIn is a great source of up to date information in your industry and can connect you with people around the world to share knowledge and see what is going on in other parts for the world. LinkedIn has further strengthened the educational source with the purchase of Lynda.com and online learning source.
  • Stealth Jobseeker: you may currently be happy at your job but thinking you might be ready for a new challenge. With the right profile, you can create an interest that draws in recruiters but does not tip off your current employer that you are looking.
  • Source of Contacts for family members or friends: who may be looking for work. The challenge for young people looking for work is the lack of contacts and networks. If you have a big network you might be able to connect them with someone who could provide them with information about the industry they are interested in working in.
  • Job seekers: LinkedIn is definitely a great source of information for job seekers. You can gain market intelligence; find jobs not easily found in other places, connect with old colleagues who may be working in an organization that you could potentially apply. By looking at other peoples LinkedIn profiles you can see what your competition is in your industry and will help you understand where you fit into today’s labour market.

LinkedIn-ecosystem

About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks

Dorothy is a professional resume writer and career advisor with over 25 years’ experience in helping people find fulfilling work at all levels of the labour market. If you think your LinkedIn profile needs a tune up or you are unsure how to even start contact Dorothy at dorothyk@fwt.bc.ca or go to www.fwt.bc.ca. Changing your profile can lead to some great opportunities for growth or career change.

12
Jan

LinkedIn a Rolodex on steroids

Having worked in the employment industry for over twenty-five years, I have seen and used every trick there is in looking for work. When I first started helping people look for work –you went door to door and dropped off resumes. Despite being right in the office you will be asked to send your resume by email or apply online and they will refuse to take the resumes!

Then we had it where you contacted the receptionist and tried to break through to the hiring person and there job was to block everyone and protect the hiring person privacy at all costs.

Next we had the voice mail and email vacuum –you left a message and no one ever returns your call and the email you sent with the resume, and cover letter is never acknowledged and you did not know if your resume every made it into the hands of the person hiring.

Today we have the Applicant Tracking System or (ATS) with over 200 different systems and more and more companies either buying them or using third party systems. The applicant tracking system is one more roadblock for the job searcher. The ATS systems are used to screen applicants resumes for key skills and then hiring manager views those resumes that make it through the system.

So how do you break through all these roadblocks?

LinkedIn is the jobseekers dreams come true! If used correctly you can find out who the hiring person is, what their background is, what type of people they currently have on board and can determine where you skills could help them and if your skills are weak where else you could potentially be hired based on where the current staff previously worked. LinkedIn is a massive rolodex that enables your to connect with people in the organizations and gain a further understanding of what the firm requires.

  1. The reality is networking is key. People hire people who they know or someone else knows. The majority of people are referred for jobs. If you are new to the city and don’t have a lot of connections -LinkedIn can help you identify people who work at the place you are interested in. I have had clients who have been successful in connecting with the person in the hiring role through LinkedIn and some have been able to connect with manager in departments that they wanted to work and set up an informational interview .
  1. In order for LinkedIn to be useful, you ideally need at least 100 people in your network. As soon as I say this, I can immediately hear a number of you saying –I do not know one hundred people-think again. For the young people it may be the parents of your friends, your professors, your neighbours, your teachers, your classmates or your soccer coach I think you get the idea. For those who have been in the workforce for a number of years it is a great way to reconnect with people you use to work with. I had one client who connected with an employee they had not connected with in ten years. He connected on LinkedIn with the person who had just started a new company and they had been discussing hiring someone with my client’s exact skills. He was in the biotech industry (which has been a challenging field in BC lately) and from when one job ended and he was hired, it was six weeks! this was in late November and he was working by mid January. They hired him and the position was never posted.
  1. On LinkedIn you can search for people who went to the university you went to and I have found that often people will connect with people that went to the same university as you.
  1. Join groups on LinkedIn and find out if they have events that you can attend. You will meet others in the industry as often people are aware of positions that are available either within their own company or at another company. Sometimes at these events you can find out about new positions companies are proposing before they have even posted them and you can get a jump on the job.

LinkedIn is only one piece of the job search puzzle, having a professional resume, a network and the confidence to reach out and let people know you are working you will be surprised the response and where help in your job search comes from.

About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks

Dorothy is a professional resume writer and career advisor with over 25 years’ experience in helping people find fulfilling work at all levels of the labour market. If you think your LinkedIn profile needs a tune up or you are unsure how to even start contact Dorothy at dorothyk@fwt.bc.ca or go to www.fwt.bc.ca. Changing your profile can lead to some great opportunities for growth or career change.

3
Jan

So you are on linkedIn. Now what?

LinkedIn-Now-what

So you finally bit the bullet and got yourself on LinkedIn. You have created a great profile. You have heard how many people have found great jobs, companies have found business partners, learned new ways of doing business and you are on and NOTHING HAPPENS! So why is that? You need to be active on LinkedIn for it to be of value. If you put up your LinkedIn profile and never go on again it won’t be very useful. Here are some quick tips that I have used and so have my clients and been very happy with the results.

What to do to generate results and understand the value of LinkedIn.
  • Increase your connections to over 100 but make sure you actually know the person. this increases your exposure to a wider range of people.
  • Remove connections of people that you do not wish to be connected to –ie that old boss that you really didn’t like and never want to talk to again. Removing connections is simple and they do not know you have done it!
  • Connect with people both in your industry and in others industries as you never know who they know. Sometimes the brother of your friend is working in a company that you are interested in learning more and you were not aware of that until you connected with your friend on LinkedIn.
  • Join groups that are in the field you are interested in learning more about. Once you have joined make sure to respond or comment on postings. Make short comments that show you understand or add value to the discussion. It is not a matter of just “liking”. By doing this, you are starting to create a presence to your network on LinkedIn and could capture the eye of a recruiter. You can also learn some of the latest trends in your industry.
  • Have recommendations on your LinkedIn that highlight your skills. When getting recommendations make sure that you spread them out so they do not all happen on the same day. The reason for this is each time you add a recommendation it will go out to your connections if you have the alert button turned on. If looking for work and do not want your employer to know then keep your alerts turned off or make sure you don’t have a flood of recommendations coming in on the same day.
  • If a recruiter contacts you and your are not looking for work at the moment –do respond back and let them know if you are not looking but keep the name for the future as you never know when you will be looking.
  • Check out jobs on LinkedIn and when you look at the job look also at the other ones recommended. This will generate more jobs coming to your LinkedIn site.
  • Use LinkedIn for research on companies to understand the skills they need by reviewing the staff who currently work there. You can analyze your skills and see if you could improve our chances of working at your ideal firm by taking a course or some additional training.

About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks

Dorothy is a professional resume writer and career advisor with over 25 years’ experience in helping people find fulfilling work at all levels of the labour market. If you think your LinkedIn profile needs a tune up or you are unsure how to even start contact Dorothy at dorothyk@fwt.bc.ca or go to www.fwt.bc.ca.  Changing your profile can lead to some great opportunities for growth or career change.