Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Revamp Your Online Image

By staff

Many young professionals are all over the Web, especially on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. But what might be cute and funny to friends and family may not be as humorous to potential employers (such as pictures from that blowout party you attended on New Year’s Eve). It’s not surprising that with the ease and affordability of search engines, employers can and do eliminate job candidates based on an applicants’ online image.

In a 2005 survey of 102 job recruiters by ExecuNet, 75 percent said that they utilize search engines to research job candidates, and 26 percent have eliminated candidates based solely on what they have uncovered online.

Whether you’re a new graduate looking for your first professional gig, or have already gotten your feet wet in the professional world, you need to keep tabs on your online image. You spend so much time on your resume -- be careful about the rest of your online profile as well. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Beware of social paparazzi: With blogs and photo-sharing sites abounding on the Web, there’s no telling where that picture a fellow partygoer snapped is going to end up. While you should have a good time when you’re out, keep in mind that you never know when the spotlight might shine on you. (In other words, when someone tempts you to do a keg stand, think twice before assuming the position.) You wouldn’t want damaging pictures or videos surfacing on the Internet featuring you as the star.

Do your own PR: The trick to maintaining a positive online image is to increase the favorable content out there. Create a professional Web site or publish your resume online (leaving out your street address, Social Security number and other personal information). You can also create a blog that focuses on your industry or hobbies. Be sure to keep them updated and you’ll impress anyone who Googles your name.

Use technology wisely: Take advantage of new online job-searching technologies by uploading your resume to so that employees can find you using precision searches. Monster’s new precision search technology means candidate searches will no longer return hundreds of “so-so” options. They’ll come back with several great options most tailored to what the employer is looking for -- making sure your resume will meet its perfect match and not get lost in the crowd.

Bring in the authorities: If you come across a Web site that contains images or inappropriate information about you that you want deleted, contact the site’s Webmaster and request that the information be removed. If that doesn’t work, consider using, a paid service that trolls the Web for information about you and destroys harmful content.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Five New Skills Job Seekers Need

By Liz Ryan, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Job seekers have had the same list of critical skills to brush up on or acquire for decades -- things like careful follow-up, attention to grammar and punctuation, and great listening abilities. But today's overcrowded job market and the ever-shrinking attention spans of hiring managers are creating brand-new job search requirements.

Here are five new must-have skills for job seekers today:

Pain Spotting

It used to be that you could apply to a job and parrot the requirements listed in the job ad. But simply saying, "You want organizational and communication skills? I've got 'em!" won't cut it anymore. Every job seeker says the exact same thing in his cover letter. These days, you've got to do more. You've got to figure out -- by reading the job ad and researching the employer -- what sort of business pain lurks behind the job opening.

What are your choices? There's growth-related pain, and there's consolidation-related pain. There's pain associated with customers fleeing, with competitors outsourcing the work and cutting costs, and with a shortage of talent in an industry. When you know or can guess at the pain behind the job ad, you have something of substance to say to a hiring manager. Until then, you're just another banana in a very crowded bunch.


"I have a strong work ethic and get along with all kinds of people" is about as compelling as "I had cereal for breakfast" -- but, worse, it's not even believable. Anyone can claim these characteristics, and nearly everyone does. To get a hiring manager's attention, tell a brief and powerful story that demonstrates what you get done when you work: "When our big Q4 product release was delayed a month, I put together an outbound-calling campaign that kept our accounts from bailing and got us $450,000 in preorders" will let a hiring manager know some of the good things that happen when you showed up, saw and conquered.

Using a Human Voice

The old "results-oriented professional with a bottom-line orientation" style of resume is as out of date as high-fructose corn syrup. A human voice in your resume and your other outreach to employers will separate you from the boilerplate-spouting legions of typical job seekers. Replace tired corporate-speak like "Met or exceeded expectations" with a concrete, visual bullet point like "I sold our sales VP on a matrix territory structure that boosted sales 14 percent." Don't be afraid of the word "I" in your resume, or of using vernacular. Real people -- such as your next boss -- use slang every day.

Showing Relevance

The typical job seeker has a one-size-fits-all resume that gets pressed into service whether the open position is for a purchasing coordinator, a marketing assistant or a human resources analyst. That's no good. Your background won't be relevant to the hiring manager unless you highlight the accomplishmentsfrom each past job that have the most in common with the role you're pursuing. For a purchasing job, spell out your negotiating milestones. For the marketing role, tell the reader how you created or maintained a database and about your writing and creative skills. For the HR opportunity, describe the times when you untangled thorny human problems. Rewrite your resume as often as necessary to make sure your most relevant stories come to the fore.

Knowing Your Value

No one will pay you more than you think you're worth, so know your value before you begin an active job search. Monster’s Salary Wizard is a great salary research tool to start with. Know what you're worth so you don't get lowballed in the hiring process. If you and an employer have wildly different ideas about what your background is worth, keep looking. Even in a tough economy -- maybe even because of if -- your ability to solve expensive employer problems is worth a lot more than peanuts. Arm yourself with information, and then get out there and tell your story.