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Tuesday’s Tip: Isn’t a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on May 3, 2011 in Job Tip |
I have always heard that "A picture is worth a thousand words", and I have always believed this to be the case (at least for me). I learn better when I see the information being presented in a visually appealing, colorful format. In fact, more than 65% of Americans are visual learners. And last time I checked, at least 99.99% of all Americans have a color television set. The black and white ones are for antique collectors.
So it puzzles me why most job seekers hold onto the development and distribution of a plain, old, boring black and white text version of their resume. Heck, they think they are going outside-of-the-box by putting something in Bold or ALL CAPS. And don't even get me started on this false rumor about an ATS stopping the transfer of your resume when it finds a hyperlink or an email address (this rumor was started by the Easter Bunny).
So my plea to anyone that wants to differentiate themselves from their competitors, is to throw away that boring 2007 looking resume. If you don't have color, pictures, graphs, hyperlinks, tables, or a visually appealing layout, then you are just another candidate with a resume. It is so easy to climb to the top of the pile, by just trying. Recruiters will only glance (notice I didn't say read), at your resume for 30 seconds and if during this time frame they are not "convinced" to glance some more, can you guess which circular file your resume will end up in? If you make it easy for them to read the content, they will not only learn more about your capabilities, but they most likely will be impressed with your technical capabilities (ie. inserting a Hyperlink on your resume). To those of you that are trying to disguise your age (because of the age discrimination that is prevalent in society), this may be your ticket out of that!

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Thursday’s Thought: Where Are The Risk Takers?

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on April 28, 2011 in Job Tip |
I admit that I have a lot of "out-of-the-box" ideas, and I don't expect everyone to implement every single idea that I recommend. However, it amazes me how many people elect to ONLY take the SAFE route in their job search (and especially if they have been out of work for an extended period of time).
I really want to challenge those of you that have taken this safe path, to spend all next week doing something different (that you've never tried before), each day of the week. So, by Friday, you will have completed 5 new job search techniques. What is the worst that can happen? The employer will eliminate you from consideration? Possibly, but haven't they been eliminating you for the past "x" months anyhow? I want you to get creative in your job search. You can start on Monday by doing something slightly out of your comfort zone, but by Friday, I want your family members to start questioning your insanity.
In fact, just to entice you to follow through with this, I will give anyone that sends me their "log" of what they did each day of the week, a free webinar (starting in May).
Note: I am going to offer webinars on most of the job search topics that I have talked about in my speeches and classes. We will go much further in-depth on the topics than I had time to do in other forums. More to come...


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Tuesday’s Tip: I’ll Tell You a Secret if You Promise Not to Tell Anyone

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on April 26, 2011 in Job Tip |
There is a "back door" way to send a message to LinkedIn people that you are not 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree connections with, nor are you in a group that they belong to as well (and it's free - for the time being; unless you tell our little secret to anyone). Basically, when you click on Compose Message, you are going to override the URL address that pops up and "program" LinkedIn to send your message to your desired recipient.
Since this is not a "feature" of LinkedIn, and I am sure they don't want you to do this method (since they want to make money on InMails), please use at your own risk.
And since I don't want to post this secret in a public forum, I am asking that you send me an e-mail requesting the secret and I will e-mail you the instructions in a Word document.
Happy Networking!

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Thursday’s Thought: Asking for Referrals…

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on April 21, 2011 in Job Tip |
As I would coach anyone looking for talent to do, I am going to follow my own advice; and ask for referrals.

Corporate Transition Services is growing and we are looking for a Marketing Intern to work with us this summer (and possibly longer if schedule permits). Below is a "real" job description. The program is designed as a learning opportunity for the intern so that the person can gain practical, real-world experience in marketing.

Duties and Responsibilities
The intern will have both large projects to work on and, on a day-to-basis, smaller tasks that are assigned by the Client Relationship Manager. Some of the planned work will include assisting with:
- Performing competitor analysis
- Maintaining and expanding our social media presence
- Posting advertisements for current webinars
- Working on our weekly newsletter
- Making contact with vendors as part of our partnership program with them
- Leveraging online communities to increase brand awareness
- Forming strategies to attract target clients
- Writing for public relations, copywriting, customer follow-up and other events
- Preparing a media kit
- Developing of materials to leave behind at conferences and training classes
- Identify top prospects for the Client Relationship Manager
- Creation of business cases and prospect types
- Developing a public relations and communication plan
- Preparing of marketing materials for Client Relationship Manager

Work Hours:
- The position requires a total of 200 hours, starting in April/May and ending in late Summer.
- Occasional evening and weekend hours may be needed.
- The intern will work remotely using their own computer but is expected to attend 1 or 2 meetings each week in Plainfield, Illinois.

Requirements:
- Advanced Internet skills.
- Social Media experience: specifically LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Strong proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite: specifically PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.
- Excellent time-management and organizational skills.
- An enthusiastic and outgoing personality.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills.
- Excellent problem-solving skills.
- Resourcefulness

Other Program Information
The Marketing Intern will receive day-to-day guidance from the Client Relationship Manager but will also work independently and provide perspective and solutions for market strategy.
- Hourly wage plus career counseling and resume development
- To apply, please send resume to Kevin@CorporateTransitionServices.com

About Us
Corporate Transition Services (CTS) is a premier outplacement and HR training firm dedicated to assisting in the management of workforce reduction and career transition. We provide one-on-one coaching, preparation and education in several career development areas.

For more information on our company, visit www.CorporateTransitionServices.com

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Tuesday’s Tip: Set Up Google Alerts

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on April 19, 2011 in Job Tip |
Everyone should go out today and "hire" the Internet as their personal assistant. This assistant can play a critical role in helping you find your next job opportunity. The good thing about this new employee is that she is virtually free, reliable (available 24 hours a day; most of the time), accurate (if you visit the right sites), dependable (if you feed her correctly; the right data), resourceful (if you know where to tell her to look), fast and wicked smart (can search and analyze millions of bytes of data per second and provide the results back to you according to your desires). However, if you don't guide this employee correctly, she can get lost in her own data, and be quite useless. One way to train her is to utilize Google Alerts.

Most of us think that we can "job search" by ourselves. But the fact is that we can only cover so much ground, and thus we miss a lot of leads or opportunities because most of us are just humans. Using Google Alerts is one part of this new employees job description.

You can find Google Alerts by selecting "more", then "even more" from www.google.com or by going to the following URL: www.google.com/alerts

You would want to use Google Alerts for news or information on your targeted companies list, keeping current with the latest trends in your field of expertise, tracking jobs posted that you are a fit for, seeing where people are meeting to discuss your topics of interest (networking) and even alerting you to when your name has been indexed by a search engine. It can be used for an endless number of reasons. Determine what you can't miss out on, and it probably qualifies for a Google Alert. Note: You can set up more than one and choose to have the results emailed to you "As it happens", "Daily", or "Weekly". Or for the advanced users, have this information sent to your RSS feed. Note: Think of an RSS feed as your custom online newspaper, however, only the information that you are interested in makes it to publication.

Google Alerts is one way to ensure that you do not miss that important piece of information that might have gone unnoticed. In upcoming blog posts, I will discuss some other neat tools to assign to your new employee.

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Thursday’s Thought: I Might Be Wrong… Nah, Probably Not… But Maybe…

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on April 14, 2011 in Job Tip |
Those of you that have been following me closely know that my stance on the job market recovery is not an optimistic one. I never promote pessimism so I like to think of myself as a realist. I have consistently said that we are in for a very long-term recovery (ie. multiple years away; around 2013 at the earliest). I still think we are in worse shape than everyone realizes, and I still wouldn't be surprised if we haven't seen the bottom of this recession yet.

However, there is a definite spike in the need for recruiters. I have seen more advertised positions for recruiters all across the US. In fact, Kenexa had an online Recruiter Career Webinar today where they are looking for 80 recruiters to join their RPO team. They are not alone. I have been contacted by numerous recruiters in the past few weeks asking me if I am interested, or if I know any good ones that I could recommend.

One thing I know for sure is that these companies are planning to hire. So in the short term (and hopefully long-term), I predict a surge in the number of open positions. And with most corporations only hiring mostly internal employees to fill their openings during the last 12 months, there is no more room for internal shuffling. That leads to looking at the external market. And when this dam breaks, look out. Anywhere from 60% to 85% of the currently employed workers are dissatisfied in the current situation, and they are going to leap after these newly created jobs. That massive avalanche of people that are currently employed will now feel that it is safe to test the waters of a new company, and start applying for these new openings.

That creates more competition for the unemployed worker. So, get out your fighting gear, put on your best attire, polish your elevator speech, and fight for your right to be hired!

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Tuesday’s Tip: Are Your Bullet Points Firing Blanks?

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on April 12, 2011 in Job Tip |
Regarding your resume, absolute worst way to write a bullet point is to copy and paste the job description from your current job. This guarantees that you will be put in the pile of all other rejected resumes; as a recruiter, I know that at least 50% of you do this!

You have to differentiate yourself from all of the other candidates that apply to the position. Do you remember Simon Cowell from American Idol? He always told the contestants to "make the song your own". Those who followed his advice seemed to get further in the competition than those who sang the same old song that we were already familiar with.

I want you to look at your bullet points and write them so that no one who has ever been - or will be - an accountant at that company can put the same bullet point on their resume. For example, the bullet points listed below start with the pathetic and advance to a very impressive sounding final point.

  • Did month-end closing procedures.

  • Responsible for month-end closing procedures for the Information Technology department.

  • Led a 6-person team who consistently met month-end closing deadlines by ensuring the right procedures were in place to act as a safety net if team was met with unexpected challenges.

  • Led a 6-person team who, by ensuring that the entire IT department was aware of, and committed to, the 18-step process demanded by our Service Level Agreements (SLA's), increased the meeting of month-end closing deadlines from 71% to 98%.


As you can see, anyone can have the first bullet point on their resume but it is nearly impossible that any of your competitors have the last bullet point on their resume. Demonstrating that you add value and that the company cannot live without you is your task for your resume and interview. If you fail on your resume, you might not ever get that interview (unless you know the magical secret of networking).

Here's what you do: pull out your resume, read each bullet point, and ask yourself, "so what?" If the item speaks about you being unique and adding value to the organization, then it passes the the test. If not, revise or, at the very least, move it to the middle of the bullet list (that's where the weakest, or least impressive ones should reside).

So load up your gun (resume) and start firing bullets that hit the bulls-eye (new job offer)!

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Tuesday’s Tip: The Jobseeker Fairy Tale

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on March 29, 2011 in Job Tip |
Ralphie is a typical 2011 jobseeker. He was downsized, rightsized, laid off, let go, outsourced, discharged, restructured, position eliminated, or many other names just a year ago. Ralphie is over 50 and was with his last company for more than 10 years. Since he has had many positions in his 30+ year career, he knows how to find a job. He wakes up every morning at 8:00am, drinks a cup or two of coffee, and by 9:00am has already logged onto Monster.com and is just about ready to click "Apply". He will continue to do basic job searches on some other job boards and by 10:30am, shuts down the computer, pats himself on the back for finding 6 new positions that he found online, and waits for the calls to come in. Once or twice a month, he gets that call and is eager to tell the company all about his qualifications, but is surprised when that recruiter (who told him he would call again soon), conveniently looses his number. Over time, Ralphie surely knows that the right opportunity is just around the corner, and will soon find him, but he heard about these Networking Meetings and thought he would give one of those a try; after all, what harm could come from that. So every week on the same day, he met at the pre-determined location, and sat downed and waited for the "also unemployed" to hire him (or okay, maybe tell him about a position). He heard rumblings about opportunities, but since they never appeared on his magical job boards, he never applied for them. After all, he wouldn't think of bothering a Hiring Manager to talk about an opportunity. Ralphie is very pleased that he started coming to these Networking Meetings because he gets to see the same people every week, and also has received lots of advice on his resume, and this weekend, he is going to update it for his 23rd version. This version must be the final one, cuz a "professional resume writer" looked at it this time! Oh wait, a professional writer looked at version 3 as well. Hmmm, how did this happen? Before Ralphie could answer himself, the phone rang and it was a recruiter wanting him to come in for the interview. He was so excited, and studied his resume for hours that night because he wanted to make sure he talked about every bullet point on his resume and explain his job responsibilities to the interviewer so that he would know what he had done at his previous ungrateful employer. He even planned how he was going to prove to the Hiring Manager that he was unjustly downsized, and how the company is a loser without him.

So if this little fairy tale sounds realistic and you weren't able to identify the 8 mistakes that Ralphie made during this little story, then I would suggest you take a different route than you have been traveling and step out of your comfort zone and try some new techniques that are much more productive than the old way of finding a job. If you want more specifics, come to my CTS Networking Club on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. For more details, click on this link: http://ctsnetworkclub.eventbrite.com/

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New Webinar!

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on March 24, 2011 in Job Tip |
This isn't my usual Thursday Thought (it's still coming) but I wanted to quickly send out a note about a new webinar that I'm holding.

It's called "The Top 10 Mistakes People Make on Their Resume" and I spend 90 minutes going over not just what people typically do wrong, but how to do it properly.

These top 10 mistakes are very common and often have the consequence of having your resume automatically discarded. This in-depth but inexpensive webinar is essential for learning how to have your resume float to the top.

To sign up or for more information, please click here.

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Tuesday’s Tip: Twitter Time

Posted by Kevin Crews - The Career Strategist on March 8, 2011 in Job Tip |
The time has come for job seekers to step up and learn to speak Twitterese. This tool can dramatically increase your job search awareness and effectiveness, and you cannot run a full blown job search without it.

The first step is to get a Twitter account from www.twitter.com. Make sure it is either your name or your "brand name". The next statement might surprise you, but I don't want you to send a tweet to anyone for at least 2 months. The magic of using Twitter for your job search is not in tweeting messages, but rather, it is in all of the supporting applications, tools, and widgets that have been created to support the twits.

So spend the next few months playing around with these applications listed at http://www.squidoo.com/twitterapps - then after you have become addicted, you may send your first tweet and become part of the club.

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