Archive for November 2011

Jobseekers, be Interview-Ready: Company Research 101

November 22, 2011
 

Interview Calendar

A question was posted on LinkedIn recently asking hiring managers what their pet peeves were when it comes to interviewing job candidates. Over and over again, respondents indicated that their pet peeve is candidates who come to the interview and don’t know anything about the company.

Jobseekers, there is no excuse.  When you go into the interview, you should know the company’s products, its mission, its history, its industry, its competitors, its strategic goals, and any big projects/products/announcements that have made it in the news.

“But I Don’t Know How To Research a Company!” you say? Here’s how:

  1. Start with the company’s website. Look for an “About Us“,  “News & Press“, “Our Team” sections.  Look for an “Our Services” or“Our Clients” section.  Basically, read everything you possibly can on the company website.
  2. Look at what the company says about itself on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to check out new hire listings.
  3. Go back to the team list you found in step one. Now search each of these names in LinkedIn. How long have they been in the position? Where were they before that? Do they mention any projects they’ve been involved in? What groups do they belong to? Have they asked or answered any questions in LinkedIn Q&A? Have they contributed to any group discussions? Do they have a blog?
  4. Google the company name and click through to some of the links. This is a scavenger hunt, of sorts. You won’t know what’s good until you find it. Skip through to the third, fifth, seventh and tenth pages. Look for articles that mention the company in terms of industry trends and developments, new products, customer service experiences. If you have more time, read more articles.
  5. Go back to the google search page, and toggle on the NEWS tab. Search the company again. Look for press releases, industry analyses, financial analyst reports, controversies, praise, mentions by journalists. Often you’ll find more illuminating information from the financial and industry analysts  who talk about an annual report than you will from the report itself.
  6. Reset the time parameters, and look for news articles about the company from a year ago, two years ago, five years ago.
  7. Search the company name together with “merger” or “acquisition”. Has the company acquired other companies or been acquired? Is there any news about how smoothly (or not so smoothly) this went?
  8. Search the company name together with the title of your target position. You may be able to find out who the incumbent was before you, some of the projects they were involved in, any PR (negative or positive) that they attracted.
  9. Do it again, using the title of the person you will be reporting to. Is your soon-to-be-supervisor new in the position, or was there somebody in the position before him/her? How recent was the change? This search should be done both in Google and in LinkedIn.
  10. Search the company name together with the word “convention”, or “trade show”, or “conference”. Look for any presentations, keynote speeches, whitepapers. At a minimum, you will learn which industry associations and events the hiring company deems valuable.
  11. Search the company name together with keywords from the job description. Use one keyword at a time: Research. Marketing. Project Manager. ISP.  This is a great way to find clues to the goals and challenges that you will be facing that are specific to your target position.
  12. Search the company name together with the word “case study”. IT companies love to create case studies of their success stories. Check out what problems these vendors helped your target company to solve. Match this information against press releases announcing a different vendor for the same solution, which is often a clue that a mega-project went bust.
  13. Use http://www.wefollow.com to search for the company and any of its employees on twitter. Check out their twitter streams. What are they talking about? What are they excited about?
  14. Google “who are COMPANY’s main competitors“. Look for entries from sites such www.finance.yahoo.com, wikinvest.com, www.hoover.com, and www.corporatewatch.com.
  15. Use www.glassdoor.com to research the company culture.

Organize Your Information

The amount of information you will uncover will vary depending on the company’s size and years in business. For smaller firms, you might not get much more than their stated business goal and the names of its founders and executives. That’s fine, that’s more than you knew before. Try other search engines like bingPipl is a great tool for doing a deep search on people’s names. For most mid to large-sized companies, the information will be so voluminous that it will be overwhelming.  Organize your findings by the questions you want answered:

  • What is the company’s product/service and target clientele?
  • Where does the company say it is heading in the next five years? What are its goals, values, mission?
  • Has there been any events recently that confirm or contradict those values, mission, goals?
  • Who are its main competitors? How does the company stack up against these competitors?
  • Has there been a lot of staffing changes recently? Is this because the company is growing, or is it an indication of potential trouble?
  • What are the company’s main challenges? Pain points? Risk exposures?
  • What are the company’s main competitive advantages?

If you want to position yourself as the solution to their problem, think like a marketer. Do your market research. Understand who the company is, what its challenges and pain points are, where they are going, and how you can contribute.  Then, be ready to demonstrate your insights in your interview.

How To Use Google In Your Job Search-via Come Recommended by Kate D’Amico on 10/17/11

November 17, 2011

The Internet has revolutionized the job search in countless ways — recruiters can find you online (see here, here, and here for more info on that), and job searchers can find postings online. The importance of social networking is apparent, but how can plain old Google — a seemingly “age old” technology on the Web — aid you in your job search? Robert Pagliarini writes for CBS Money Watch on how to use Google to get a job. Pagliarini is an expert on maximizing free time, and has authored No. 1 bestseller “Six-Day Financial Makeover” as well as “The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose.” He has also appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, 20/20, and more. 

Pagliarini cites a trend from Google Search that indicates that more people are searching for jobs online; specifically, the use of search term “job interview” has increased 30% since 2009. Here are some of Pagliarini’s tips for using the number one search engine:

  • Use Google Finance to review a company’s financial status and performance

Enter the company’s name in the search bar and you’ll find its stock price, competitor’s stock prices, recent news, and more.

Some channels (Pagliarini cites DenhamResources and smartsselling) offer resume and career advice for job seekers.

  • Get to know your interviewer

Use Google to search the person who will be interviewing you; see if they’ve been published, spoken recently at an event, or even if they’re on LinkedIn. Use these details to impress at your interview and could distinguish you from other candidates.

For Pagliarini’s other tips on using Google for your job search, see here. It’s always helpful to research the company before applying and interviewing, but there are a million other ways Google can help you besides just research.

How do you use Google to prepare for your job search? What do you think of these ideas? Share with us here!

91% Of Employers Check Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] via Come Recommended by Katie Lewis on 10/4/11

November 15, 2011

According to a survey of 300 hiring professionals conducted by Reppler, a social media monitoring service for managing online presence, a job candidate’s social network is thoroughly examined during the hiring process by 91 percent of employers and recruiters. Consider the findings from the survey below:

  • The most utilized social network to screen candidates is Facebook
  • The most utilized time to screen a candidate is after receiving an application
  • The top reason a candidate is rejected after screening their social networks is because they lied about their qualifications
  • The top reason a candidate is hired after screening their social networks is because they gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit

 So what can job seekers learn from this? First, realize that the importance of a professional online image will help enhance your first impression when applying for a job. It cannot be stressed enough that even one picture, tweet, or exaggeration about your skills can deteriorate your personal brand.

Second, since Facebook is the number one most utilized social network (followed by Twitter), employers may want to inspect that your social skills and personality will match their corporate culture. If that were the case, you should use good behavior and judgment of your words and persona online as if you were working in a professional setting.

Lastly, and most important of all, know your professional value and do not exaggerate your qualifications in order to meet the requirement of a job description. Ideally, you should not apply for the job unless you happen you meet all of the requirements (except for the requested “years of experience” in some cases). It saves everyone’s time and won’t temp you into exaggerating or enhancing your skill-set.

Stick to basics to find a job in uncertain times

November 7, 2011

LA Times 10/23/11-Jobs-Advertising Supplement-B4  

In though economic conditions, finding a job can get downright frustrating. Gone are the days of submitting a resume and getting called for an interview. Instead, job seekers today have to get creative if they want to be noticed.

            Jill Keto, author of “Don’t Get Caught With Your Skirt Down: A Practical Girl’s Recession Guide” (Bare Market Press, $16.95) says job seekers should not limit their searches to positions based on profile or status.

            “Focus your job search on businesses that have a good chance of surviving the recession, or even growing during it,” she says. “For example, U.S. manufacturing companies that export are actually doing better and will continue to do well as transportation cost increase. Choose boring, nuts-and-bolts manufacturing companies over the more glamorous business like financial services.”

            The goal is to find a job that won’t crumble during difficult times. Look at the big picture, and try to think like a hiring manager throughout the process, says Keto.

            “When interviewing and also on your cover letter, highlight why you can either help them save money or increase revenues,” she adds. “This is key because businesses are most concerned with the bottom line in a recession. For example, are you very good at cutting costs, personal budgeting and keeping expenses down, or finding ways to get new customers? If so, tell them.”

            Now is the time to make like the latest toy craze and become your very own advertising agency. Market yourself as a package. Show the employer that you not only have the skills, experience and personality for the job, you also come equipped with new, innovative ideas to improve their bottom line.

            Standing out from the crowd can be a good thing when it comes to differentiating yourself from the hundreds of other applicants, however, be cognizant of the way it will be perceived by the hiring manager. Don’t’ fall victim to gimmicks, such as funky borders or brightly colored resume paper.

            “Always include a summary section that emphasizes unique selling propositions and the return on investment you can offer an employer,” explains Laura DeCarlo, executive director of A Competitive Edge Career Service LLC in Orlando, Fla. “Do not just waste space on soft skills and competencies in this section. Then, make certain that work history is reviewer-friendly—emphasize challenges, actions, and results in the content to tell a story of transferability.”

            Just as important as the job search itself is your professional network. This group of industry professionals can help you immensely. Social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, are great ways to cultivate and use your network. However, be sure to return the favor if a member of your network helps you out.

            “Don’t spend all your time on just responding to job board postings as that is where all the candidates are, and, therefore, the most competitive traffic,” says DeCarlo. “HR professionals and recruiters are absolutely overwhelmed in this market and do not have time to look at every resume. Instead, look at targeting the hidden job market through networking, local chapters of professional associations, and targeting companies in the news who are expanding, breaking ground, etc.”

            Once you’re called in for an interview, research the company your will be interviewing with. What are the latest products or services they have introduced? What are some of the major issues surrounding your industry these days? Doing research beforehand not only makes small talk easier, it also shows you’re genuinely interested in the company. These details can make a big difference as the competition rises.

            If it’s been awhile since your last job interview, don’t be afraid to practice answering common interview questions in the mirror. Work on presenting yourself confidently. Familiarize yourself with likely interview questions, such as “What is your greatest weakness?” to avoid that deer-in-the-headlights look.

            “Frankly, the only thing that should differ [in a tough economy] is the amount of competition,” DeCarlo says. “Bur employers are currently citing that over 75 percent of the candidates who are contacting them are under-qualified for the job. In a good market, it is talented candidates who are searching making the positions far more competitive. Right now, the challenge is standing out as qualified in a sea of untalented candidates.


Sell YOU to the employers you would like to work with!

November 2, 2011

Top School Jobs/Education-AAEE

By AAEE on October 25, 2011 4:21 PM

Last week I met with a few groups of students currently participating in a student teaching experience. After the meetings, during which we engaged in conversation about creating an effective resume; strategically thinking about how to select items to include in their portfolio; and identifying resources for the job search, I began to realize that a central item I’d like to highlight here, in this blog is – sell YOU to the employers you would like to work with. What I mean is that many of you will graduate with similar experience. You will have things like a student teaching experience, observation, practicum. You will have completed the necessary requirements to teach in your respective states. These things, although part of your credentials, will not necessarily make you stand out from the crowd. You want to ensure that when you are selling yourself that you highlight the things that others may not have – language ability (even ones that seem obscure), committee work (think leadership roles), community service (remember that walk-a-thon you planned), your talents (remember when you played piano in 3rd grade). Sell those things that will make a principal say – “wow, this candidate can bring so much to our school and classrooms!” Principals seek teachers who are engaged, both in- and out-of the classroom with students, parents, the community. In addition to ensuring that you market your ability to teach, to move students ahead in their learning and to impact their success; market YOU to employers.

Joni O’Hagan
Senior Associate Director, Career Center
St. John’s University

A Blog specifically for teachers see more:

Career Corner blog

Got An iPhone? Top Apps For Your Job Search

November 1, 2011

I’m a Blackberry enthusiast myself, but I must admit that the range of apps available on Apple products is impressive. Now, you can even conduct your job search from your iPhone, iTouch, or iPad – never be out of touch with your network! In today’s tough job market, having constant access to job search tools can give you the advantage you need.

Career Rocketeer compiled a list of the Top 25 Must-Have iPhone Apps For Your Job Search. Some are free, some are paid, but all are helpful! Here are my top five favorites.

1. Monster.com Jobs (Free)

Apply directly to new Monster.com listings from your device, plus stay up-to-date with the latest job postings.

2. LinkedIn (Free)

You know how important LinkedIn is to your job search – networking is everything! Stay in touch on-the-go and continue to build your network.

3. Business Card Reader (Paid)

This app allows you to take a picture of a business card and adds that contact’s information directly into your address book.

4. Pocket Resume (Paid)

Pocket Resume uses PDF rendering technology to allow users to create, maintain and email your resume – all from your device!

5. 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions (Free)

This app is based on a best-selling book by Ron Fry and helps you prepare for interviews with tips and insights. For more advice, see 10 Interview Questions That Are Out Of The Ordinary.

So there you have it – some of the best apps for job search, networking, resumes, and interviewing. For the full list, see here. Check them out and start job-searching on-the-go!


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