Back to the Future (of Resumes)

Contributor: Michelle Dempsey

October 21st, 2015…

The futuristic date we all remember seeing punched into Marty McFly’s time-traveling vehicle of awesomeness is now upon us. For over 25 years we’ve watched Back to the Future II (along with I and III) without being able to shake the thought that the early 21st century may very well be filled with water-skimming hoverboards and sophisticated highways in the sky.

Well, here we are. We’ve made it. No hoverboards or roads in the sky, but rich with technological advances nonetheless. Suffice it to say, though, that while Marty McFly would have been highly impressed by the internet and the remote car starters of late, he would be at a huge disadvantage if he simply clicked “send” on his application email without knowing the REAL futuristic ways to land yourself the dream job.

Marty would have so much to learn about what it would take to get himself set up with a new career in the 21st century. His best first step in navigating this new world would be to collaborate with ReFresh Your Step, to ensure that his ride to success would be as smooth as hover boarding over water.

One of the first pieces of advice we’d give to Marty? Ditch the ancient “fax in your resume” technique – in fact, don’t even JUST email it in. Yes Marty, we know you’re really into this whole internet thing, so don’t worry – we have a few tricks up our sleeve for you that will let you use this “newfangled internet thing” for your job search in a whole new way!

  1. Social Media

Marty would obviously need to get with the times and create a social media presence. Then, he’d learn that interacting with the company of his dreams via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest or Google+ could help him secure a career without ever having to have actual interaction. Following a company’s social media account, liking their posts, re-tweeting their clever business ideas, sending a clever LinkedIn message are all surefire ways to get Marty noticed and start a conversation that could lead to an interview and even better, a job offer!

  1. Skype and FaceTime

Video conference calls may not have been Marty McFly’s specialty, but not to worry, we’ll brush him up on the basics of interviewing via Skype and FaceTime. Skype interviews are continuing to gain popularity, which is why ReFresh Your Step offers interview prep sessions which would help Marty not only look confident using said technology, but would also help him treat this techy interview as the REAL deal. Of course, it’s tempting to jump behind the screen dressed the part from the waist up, but we’d be inclined to remind Marty to cover up the Calvin Klein’s, as he’d do if he were walking into a live office interview.

  1. Smartphone-Ready Resumes

As new as the smartphone concept would be to Marty, we’re sure he’d be equally as shocked by the idea that his resume could be viewed on one. The truth is, most of our lives are handled from our smartphones. Employers are busy, and if your resume hits the inbox of an HR professional who has already left the office for the day – you (or Marty) would need to be sure that this piece of emailed gold would be compatible on their smartphone (or tablet!). ReFresh Your Step would be Marty’s partner in ensuring that his document’s layout and content would be prepared for optimal viewing in any new age technological device – so that his resume wouldn’t hit the trash bin just for not being smartphone (or 21st century) compatible.

Consider these three helpful tools the highways-in-the-sky for a ReFresh Your Step client. While we can’t propel your car off the ground, we can certainly help to propel your career to levels that you (or Marty McFly) would never have dreamed of! Great Scott!

It’s YOUR Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

 

LinkedIn Series – Expert Power

Career advancement is what we all strive for. Using LinkedIn can be a very helpful tool to show how you’re an expert in your field. Staying current is necessary for both currently employed professionals and individuals searching for employment. That brings us to a very important question:  Actually, have you ever even noticed it?

LinkedIn truly is like the professional Facebook (but so help me G-d if they introduce a chat function); there is now a newsfeed-esque component that you see right when you log in to LinkedIn and that is fed by what goes into your Activity feed and those of your Connections. Go to your profile and look at your Activity feed–we’ll wait.

See it? My guess is that the feed is mostly full of, “You are connected to so-and-so” and the occasional, “You are not following xyz company.” Yawn. That filters directly into the Newsfeed of all your connections and they are likely skipping right over it. Why not REALLY utilize this section and indicate your sector knowledge in the process? Post relevant articles!

You might find it a challenge, being that there are already not enough hours in the day, to post a bazillion articles. Good news: it’s quality over quantity. All you need is a minimum of five minutes per WEEK to utilize LinkedIn for posting relevant news articles and trends that are emerging in your sector. Why would you do this? Three letters: SME. To be a Subject Matter Expert, and to communicate that expertise via LinkedIn is a subtle–but strategic–opportunity to broadcast just how knowledgeable you are of your particular industry.

If you are currently employed it’s not a suggestion but a necessity to know current and future trends. It isn’t only important for you–the professional–but also for your company. Your expert power will speak volumes to your commitment with the company/sector and it will more likely than not give you a better understanding of how your sector is evolving.

If you are not employed, LinkedIn serves as a platform allowing you to connect with the professional world without having to step into an office. Right from home, while your search for a job continues, you can boost your LinkedIn presence by posting relevant articles to your LinkedIn profile. Others will be able to view them and get an understanding of your expert power within a given industry.

In doing so, you are still demonstrating your SME-ness via LinkedIn and that can work wonders for your job search. Hiring managers and recruiters will see this about you and that, alone, can increase the likelihood that they will reach out to connect. The main idea is to continue to grow professionally regardless if you’re employed or not.  Every time you post something on LinkedIn, you are upping the ante on just how savvy you are and the powers that be will respond in kind.

Now that you are up-to-speed on how post sector-specific newsworthy info to your LinkedIn profile, let’s move on to why you want Siskel & Ebert to give your profile two thumbs up!

Until next time, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

LinkedIn Series – Resource For Success

If there is a heaven on earth for HR managers and recruiters, it is definitely LinkedIn. Over the last several years LinkedIn has quietly moprhed into a vibrant resource for job-seeking and networking professionals.

Why is LinkedIn such a powerful tool in today’s job world? For almost every professional at any level and within (arguably) most every sector, LinkedIn is largely considered the best online professional networking tool out there. It allows you to create a powerful profile in which, if filled out correctly, will display your strengths and experiences as well as best position you for your target audience. Additionally, the platform allows for extensive research into sectors, companies, and people on top of its key messaging system, job board options, and additional perks just for being a member of the site (and a non-paying one at that).

The question remains, though: are you maximizing LinkedIn for your professional development purposes? Moreover, is your profile truly effective? Have you learned effective messaging techniques to utilize in connecting with people? Do you even know what those Skills/Expertise Endorsements are used for and how important they are to recruiters? LinkedIn is more than just a profile platform and it is in your best interest to know how to best utilize it for your future needs.

Stayed tuned and check back to our LinkedIn Series for some key tips essential for your success story using LinkedIn. We will be discussing a range of related topics that will be vital to your ongoing career success; some of our topics will include how to strategically improve your profile, understanding the logic behind your Skills/Expertise (and the endorsements that come with those), the most effective techniques out there for connecting with people, and so much more!

Of course, don’t forget to connect with us on, what else, LinkedIn! Until then, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

Yahoo!’s Big Gamble: The Workplace Flexibility Conundrum

With more and more companies offering workplace flexibility, it came as a shock that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer issued a memo late last month explaining that the company would require all of its employees to come into the office instead of working from home. This decision has received plenty of heat, with some calling the policy change “short-sighted”, “going backwards” and an “epic fail”. After all, 24% of Americans reported working from home at least a few hours per week and 63% of employers reported they allowed employees to work remotely.

Even though allowing workers to telecommute may save the company money in a sluggish economy, some firms are noticing definite drawbacks to having an emptier office. Studies have indicated that employees who work from home are more productive but less innovative – apparently, employees interacting with one another can lead to more new ideas and faster decision making. For a struggling company like Yahoo, having employees in the same place could mean the difference between growth and stagnation.

Job applicants shouldn’t always assume their future workplace will embrace workplace flexibility. It may be an attractive option to work from your couch all day, but it may not be the best decision for your career. Often, employees who primarily work from home miss out on crucial decisions and also may be passed over for promotions or special opportunities partly because they are much less visible in the office environment.

Recent college graduates and young professionals may be searching for jobs with greater opportunities to work from home, but Mayer may have started a trend with more companies focusing on keeping people in the workplace. Workplace flexibility must be kept in balance with other job aspects – how important is it to you to work at home compared to the possibility of job security or career growth? Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important, but no job will be perfect and in this economy, sacrificing working from home just might be necessary.

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

LinkedIn for the 1%: Yay or Nay?

With the popularity of social media in networking, it’s no surprise that users are increasingly establishing professional connections through sites like LinkedIn and even Facebook. While these sites can be incredibly useful for exploring potential job or partnership opportunities, there are many high-level executives who have a LinkedIn profile typically only updated by their staff – rendering it useless in terms of trying to network with the actual CEOs or CFOs. Now, a new site called Relationship Science is looking to make it easy to connect with the 1%, all for a small fee of $3K .

The upcoming launch of this site, described in this New York Times article, will enable users to enter a CEO’s name and see what kind of primary, secondary, or tertiary connections they already have to said CEO from the users’ own contacts. The search results will show how people are connected (“friend”, “friend of a friend”, etc) and will also judge the strength of the connection, from “strong” to “weak”. Relationship Science won’t post phone numbers or emails of its users, because as RS founder Neal Goldman points out, “This isn’t about spamming people.”

While this may seem like a great service, is it really worth it? Yes and no. For some, Relationship Science can show them connections to bigwigs they never knew existed. These contacts could be the key to being able to get a meeting or interview with the higher-ups, leading to career advancement. Unlike sites like LinkedIn where people need to create their own profile in order to interact on the site, Relationship Science uses the Internet, not the user, to gather information. This means you can still find connections with a company president without he or she having to put their own contacts on the website first.

On the other hand, not everyone needs to engage in this level of networking, and the price tag might not be worth it for most people in the workforce. Another good point is that even though you discover new connections, there’s no guarantee that anyone will respond to you.

What’s the bottom line? While Relationship Science may be worth it for a specific group of people, more often than not, real networking occurs in the real world. Attend networking events, actively update your LinkedIn profile and get to know your colleagues. In short, Always Be Networking! Refresh Your Step’s Networking Skills services can help you maximize opportunities to establish professional connections and career possibilities!

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Are You Part of LinkedIn’s 5%?

Were you one of the lucky LinkedIn users who received this email?

While you may have at first been thrilled to receive this email, your excitement may or may not have diminished once you realized 10 million other LinkedIn users also saw the same email in their inbox. After so many users were told they are pretty popular on the leading professional social media site, it left many thinking – was the email just a clever marketing ploy or something to be proud of?

Millions of professionals took to their Facebook or Twitter pages to brag about receiving the LinkedIn email, leading to the email story going viral (and lots of free publicity for LinkedIn!). Although many were quick to let others know how popular they were, many more LinkedIn users were skeptical.

“I was thoroughly irritated by that mail. It felt very spammy, a blatant attempt to appeal to narcissism, and not entirely credible. If I’m one of the top 5% most viewed profiles, and I’ve never generated any work as a result of my presence on LinkedIn, then what does that say about LinkedIn?”

“Maybe I expect a little more out of LinkedIn. But in the last couple of days, I got a congratulatory email telling me that I was “one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!” This I seriously doubt. I’m wondering if this is not some kind of a psychological play on their part. In other words, if you find out you’re good at something that you didn’t know about, then it gives you a little boost to go look at it again. And there’s a click for LinkedIn.”

While there are no statistics on who exactly received the email, no college students I know received the email (neither did I!), but Emily Kapit, Lead Resume Writer and Owner of RYS, did. This fact lends credence to the “top 5%” email because it’s highly unlikely that established professionals would be competing with college students for top-viewed honors. In fact, college students are probably the ones looking at professionals’ LinkedIn pages in hopes of connecting with the right people in an effort to secure a great job.

What’s the bottom line of this story? Although this LinkedIn email may have been a nice ego boost, it’s far from an accomplishment worthy of putting on your resume. That being said, having an up-to-date, professional LinkedIn profile will help attract more views, which can lead to more opportunities in your career. RYS is here to help you with our Social Media services to make your social media presence the best it can be. With the help of RYS, you can challenge Presisdent Barack Obama (with 525K+ views in 2012) for the title of Most Viewed LinkedIn Profile of 2013 and wouldn’t that be quite the resume-worthy feat?

It’s Your Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Beware Phantom Job Postings

No matter if you are a college student entering the job market for the first time or a 30-year veteran of the working world, making a career change or seeking a promotion is something that may never be far from your mind. Unfortunately, as this Wall Street Journal article points out, you may have to face plenty of challenges while staying on the job search.

Even if you are actively applying for a new position or just looking to see what may be available in your field, many job postings may just be formalities – many positions are already filled by current employees or specially selected outside hires. While this may seem discouraging, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure the door to career advancement is always open.

First, never fall behind on networking. This ensures you stay on the radar of prospective employers while also forging new connections in your field. Networking can happen anytime and anywhere, online or offline, and it does not have to feel like work! Check out our blog post on networking to help get you started with this crucial aspect of professional life.

LinkedIn is a vital tool in keeping up with the opportunities available to you. Use the website and other social media to your advantage – connect with the people most relevant to your field, decide what you’re going to do with those connections, and decide on your final goal. Keeping those things in mind will make you an effective virtual networker. Check out our previous blog on using the Internet for continued career success for some quick tips.

While networking is a smart move in today’s connection-focused career world, you also need to strategically choose what jobs you apply to. As the article mentions, even if the NFL posts a job opening for a head coach, chances are you don’t qualify (no matter how well do in your Fantasy Football league). Look at exactly what the job is asking for and be realistic when deciding if it’s a position for which for you would be well-suited. As much as I would like to be a Cirque du Soleil performer, I don’t think my years of trapeze experience (which are non-existent) would get me hired.

Luckily, you’re not alone in this process. Our Strategic Career ConsultingNetworking Techniques and Social Media Presence services can help ensure you’re putting the best foot forward while in your current job or during a job search. With the right mix of smart socializing, a strong social media presence, and choosing potential jobs carefully, an amazing career opportunity is just around the corner.

Remember–it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

–Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Facebook’s Graph Search & Your Job Search

Facebook JUST announced their Graph Search function and while you could use it to see who among your friends has been to a certain sushi place or likes the latest Oscar-worthy movie, could it be helpful for your job search?

You bet so! Here’s how:

You can search for who among your friends (or “friends”) have worked at or are connected to a certain industry or company? Use the Graph Search! From there, message those with the strongest/most relevant ties, state your case for an introduction and watch the magic happen.

G-d bless Mark Zuckerberg.

 

Wall Street, Dust off Those Resumes!

Dear Wall Street-ers,

Wow, I used to BE one of you back when I worked on the PR and recruiting teams at Lehman Brothers. I launched my company as a result of Lehman’s bankruptcy and have worked with many of you across different functions since our inception. I can say without  doubt that you are an interesting brood.

Based on this article, I may be speaking to more of you soon. Are you worried about your job? Have you updated your resume or LinkedIn profile recently? Are you thinking about potential next steps in case you fall victim to the layoff hatchet? How’s that networking going (remember, late nights at the office or sushi place around the corner are opportunities to network; #ABN)?

Despite a slight adjustment, the old adage rings true: all bad things must come to an end:  “‘Most analysts say these cuts won’t go on forever. As soon as lending starts to pick up, banks will increase headcount,’ said Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski.” While that may be the case and you could either land a new job quickly or get your old job back, have you pondered the REAL question: is going back to Wall Street what you really want?

It’s YOUR career–whatever curve ball is thrown your way, refresh, revive, renew!

 

5 Smart Internet Use Strategies for Continued Career Success

As I take a break from working on the first batch of resumes for 2013 (the world didn’t end…yet), I think about how thankful I am (and you should be) for the internet (and Al Gore or whomever else invented it) and subsequent proliferation of online resources. To celebrate the fifth day of the new year, here are five simple (and perhaps obvious but important nonetheless) ways to use the internet in achieving your career goals.

1. Take Control of Your Social Media: Google yourself and search for yourself on Facebook, (and while you are at it, Friendster, Myspace and Livejournal [for those of you who that know what those are]). As I have mentioned in a previous post and reiterate to my clients all of the time, maintaining a respected social media presence is critical for career development, especially as more and more HR departments incorporate online searches into their recruiting process. Better that you find an unflattering picture of yourself or inappropriate blog post from 5 years ago than someone recruiting you for an opportunity.

2. Research! Use sits such as glassdoor.com to learn more about specific industries that may be of interest to you. Sites like these contain very helpful information including job descriptions and general compensation parameters that you can use prepare for interviews or explore other industries if you are looking to make a switch.

3. Research Some More! While it goes without saying that company websites should be a critical part of any job search or interviewing process, take it a step further and make sure you visit news outlets (WSJ.com, NYTimes and Yahoo Finance among others) to obtain relevant company and industry news and information that may not be on the company’s website. Doing so will not only demonstrate that you have taken a sincere interest in the organization but can also give you the edge to make your cover letter or interview stand out. Bonus tip: remember to review investor reports and filings for publicly traded companies as they can contain useful information about a company’s performance as well as data on new business lines.

4.  LinkedIn, FTW. As I have also recommended in the past, LinkedIn can be an incredibly powerful tool when used correctly. Once you are satisfied with your profile (don’t worry if you aren’t, we can help!), use the site to join industry group and connect with colleagues and friends, which can significantly increase your own network and therefore allow you to facilitate introductions with relevant contacts. Networking with professionals can give you a credible “in” with someone at a company in which you are interested and provide “insider” knowledge that can make you stand out from a pool of other well-qualified applicants.

5.  Alumni Awesomeness. Remember college? Those carefree days of class, parties, and hanging out with friends? Want to relive those days? Buy a time machine. Want to at least use your college connection for the greater (career) good? Connect with your alumni group online and look people up in your area. See someone at a company you are considering? Contact him/her and start a conversation. As per any good networking message, make it less about you looking for  a job and more about your common connection, interest in the organization, etc. Given that you are starting with a “warm” connection, your alma mater may be your link to a great career step!