People have been fired over what they’ve said in blog posts or on social media sites. Sharing confidential information or making negative comments about a business have cost  many employees their jobs. Some employees have even been fired over making positive comments about their company. What is grounds for termination in the cyber-world and how can social media affect your job search?

Can having a personal blog, professional blog or social media account impact your job search? It most certainly could and probably will. If you post about how you conduct yourself in interviews or if you post about how you embellish your resume, potential employers will be able to see it. You want to have a profile that does not scream “bad employee” and that could be anything from bragging about excessive drinking to how you steal notepads from work.

Is it alright for prospective employers to be reading your blog or social media account? Perhaps not, but, when you post something on the Internet, it’s there for anyone to see, no matter what their motives might be. Some people, who have taken extra steps with their job search, will list their personal site or social media address on their resumes. Again, you should only do this if there is nothing you want to keep from a prospective employer on your site. Who hasn’t Googled someone they were interested in? Well, HR managers do the same thing with prospective employees.

If you have it on your resume, then the employer will definitely look at it. Most hiring managers will look at a prospect’s website if they list it. Others will try to find out as much personal information as they can. This is not the days of “3 references” anymore, now your 3 references are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

If your blog is hidden or private and people in the office or a hiring manager finds out your identity, they can still look up sensitive information about you. They certainly won’t mind reading it, so don’t put anything negative about current coworkers or any past employers you have had.

Once again, do not include a link on your resume to your social media site or personal website if it contains anything that might be damaging to your job search. Always be careful about what you put online. If you have a social media account, people will probably have no problem reading it, after all, you put your information out there, so it’s public domain now. Even if you think only your friends can access it, you still have to take caution and be proactive about what you put out.

If you’re unemployed, consider putting together a website or social media site that’s specifically related to your job search. You can position yourself as an expert in your field. Attach samples of your resume, portfolio or any certifications you have.

People are searching, so when they find you, what do you want them to see?

Even if you have an excellent resume, it still may not be targeted to find the right kind of work for you. What can you do to increase the number of responses you get from employers?

Customization is Key!

Blasting your resume out for every position you see won’t help you find the right job. If you want to grab an HR manager’s attention, you need to give them what they are looking for. You need to take the time to customize your resume for each employer and highlight your strengths that will set you apart.

Before you respond to a job posting, look over the job description and see what the credentials are. If you submit your application to a company that does not post the requirements, then look around at other similar positions. Odds are that you can find similar information that will allow you to tailor your resume. Once you’ve found your qualifications, you will be at the right place to meet that employer’s specifications.

The most convenient way to customize your resume is to create a master resume and then tweak it depending on each individual job’s requirements. If you want to tweak your resume, then try these steps:

Copy the Master Resume

Find the resume that is right for you to begin with-you don’t want to use your resume that is based on your pre-job experience qualifications, so find one that is current enough for you to tweak it accordingly. Now you’re ready to customize your resume for whatever position you’re applying for.

Start with the Title

Start with your stated career goal, along with two or three of your top credentials. You need to tailor these credentials to your specific employer’s job requirements. For example: “Advertising Manager – Advertising Degree with 10 Years Experience in an Agency.”

Examine your Objective

You need to show that you are perfectly capable of handling this job’s requirements. Create a precise, short resume objective instead of a blanket statement that would work with any job. If your goal is to be the “Chief of Software Development for Bank of America’s online data privacy support,” then it will show the HR manager that you have real, honest goals. It also makes you more attractive to their specific needs.

Summary of Qualifications

Once you have an outline of the job’s requirements, you can begin to tweak your qualifications to match those in the the position you are seeking.  If you handle this step correctly and match up with what the company’s needs, you will become the number one candidate. Add some information that is uniquely applicable to your desired position. You have to stand out.

Expand your Job Descriptions

A lot of HR managers will go straight to the prospect’s employment history to assess their qualifications. Review your listed job descriptions and see how you can modify them to more accurately reflect your past experiences. You’ve probably done some of the functions at a previous employer that will be applicable to the current HR manager. Place the most compelling qualifications at the top of the description and make sure they stand out.

Don’t leave out the Skills

Once you’ve found the right job for you, look at the required skills on the job posting and match what the job requires with your skills. Place the skills that would be most beneficial to your prospective employer at the top of the skills section.

**I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches. Each month, all members discuss a certain topic. This month, we are talking about changing careers. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective. You can also view the other member’s interesting posts at the end of the article.

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It used to be that people would stay at the same job for years. But now, it’s not the same job market, not the same companies and certainly not the same employees. People leave for all sorts of reasons, they either want a change of scenery or they leave to make more money. Companies can let go of employees for any reason too, you can go from being ‘Employee-of-the-Month’ one minute to receiving your pink slip the next. Employers don’t have loyalty to their employees, so employees are looking to better their situation by changing careers or by finding new employment.

Today, a career jump is often needed to generate an increase in income. There is a dark side to changing jobs so you have to be cautious when doing so. Besides, can changing your career improve your situation? Everybody needs some advice from time to time, so what are some ways that changing your career can benefit you?

1. Do you have a reason to change?

The best advice is to look before you leap. Do some research over the company you’re considering and see if their organizational structure aligns with your career goals. This is a big decision in life, so you want to have the proper perspective before you make a decision. If your current situation is not prosperous, then do what you can to find a better situation for yourself, just make sure that it’s the right situation.

2. The lack of knowledge or experience

Without the right amount of experience and knowledge in your new field, a potential career change could be a big mistake. But, if you’re fortunate enough to find an HR manager who wants to see what you can do, then be prepared to dazzle your new employer. If you don’t show that you can step up and provide what they’re looking for, then your new career might just flop. You should educate yourself on your new position and find out as much as you can on the industry. Just be prepared.

3. Is the money right?

Don’t sleep on the thought of earning more money. Money can be an excellent motivational tool but if it’s the sole reason for your career change, you could miss out on the bigger picture. Your quality of life will not determine your overall job satisfaction, so make sure you know what you want when you decide.

4. Don’t go for the new hot industry

Because it could be over before it starts. Remember the Dot.com crash, same thing, if you choose an industry that has seen tremendous growth in a short time, and you think “Now’s the time to cash in”, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Just beware the peaks and valleys of new industry.

5. Narrow your focus

Find something that you would love to do. Don’t be overly ambitious or fearful of change – but make sure that you know what you want to do. Many people never consider the jobs that they may be qualified for in a parallel industry, so see what options you have before you do a complete 180º.

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Read other posts on this topic from members of the Career Collective:

Are You Ready for a Career Change? @Debra Wheatman

Changing Careers? Ask yourself these questions. @erinkennedycprw

Changing Careers: Not for the Fainthearted, @GayleHoward

Career Change Isn’t An Exact Science, @careersherpa

The 10-Step Plan to Career Change, @KatCareerGal

When it’s Time to Recycle Your Career, @WalterAkana

Best Career Change Advice: Target & Plan, @JobHuntOrg

How social media can help you change careers, @keppie_careers

Expat Careers: You Are Not Your Job Title, @expatcoachmegan

Changing The Direction Of Your Career, @EliteResumes @MartinBuckland

Career Changer: Can You Quell Bottom-line Ache? @ValueIntoWords

Top 3 + 1 Tips for Making a Successful Career Change, @KCCareerCoach

Changing Careers: Look Before You Leap, @barbarasafani

10 Commandments for Career Changers, @LaurieBerenson

Oh no, the dreaded pre-interview jitters. Everyone has been nervous before– you know the sweaty palms, the sense of lightheadedness and the jumpy speech – none of these outward expressions will make a good impression at a job interview.

The stressful nature of a job interview is enough to shake just about anyone to their core. But you don’t want have to worry about having clammy hands or stuttering speech if you follow a few simple tips to help calm your nerves.

  • Arrive early enough to relax

Most people know to arrive to a job interview a few minutes early, but if you’re easily stressed out by interviews, you should arrive a little earlier. 30 minutes is a good time to arrive, it will give you time to sit and relax, have a glass of water and find your center. Make sure you check your appearance before the interview; the more confident you feel,  the more composed you will appear in the interview.

  • A smile goes a long way

Smiling makes you happy and relaxes people around you, even if you don’t feel happy. Studies have shown that if you fake a smile, it will actually make you a bit happier and when you portray this in an interview it relaxes everyone. If you show confidence in the interview, the interviewer will treat you with respect, so remember to smile confidently during your interview.

  • Breathe for a moment before you answer

Before you answer any questions, just take a moment or two to inhale a breath and give the question some consideration. You may think you’re taking forever to answer the question, but in reality it’s only one or two seconds. The pause will also appear to be a part of your natural thought process, so it appears as if you’re giving the question serious consideration. Also, breathing deep will help to calm you down, and prepping the question in your mind gives you time to formulate an answer and speak when you are not nervous.

  • Look your interviewer in the eye

One thing interviewees often do is fidget around during an interview, especially if they are nervous during the interview. To make and keep eye contact with the interviewer, focus on a spot right between their eyes. Just don’t stare at their nose or mouth. They are below their eyes and most people can tell when someone is looking at their mouths and not making eye contact.

  • Relax your body

If there is a pause in the conversation, use this as an opportunity to review your body. Are you tight and rigid, are your muscles clinched or are you fidgeting with your hands? If you are stressed, try to relax your muscles as much as possible. You will feel and appear more comfortable to the interviewer.

It’s not unusual to feel some apprehension during a job interview, but by following some simple stress-relieving exercises, you can maintain your composure and succeed in the interview.

Today’s post is by guest blogger, Kenneth McCall. Read more about Ken at the end of the article.

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When people hear the words “easy to train”, the first thing that often comes to mind is a household pet. But believe it or not, the phrase applies to people too. And it is especially relevant to a person looking for a job.

Many people assume that employers limit themselves to a standard and predictable set of criteria when they go about hiring: Where did you go to college? What kind of degree did you earn? What kind of experience do you have? How many years have you worked? What are your talents and skills? Questions like these are always going to be asked. But employers who have hired a lot of new employees in the past and are familiar with the process of assimilating a new person into their workforce think differently. They understand that no matter how qualified a new hire may be, there will always be an initial learning curve of some type……to be followed by several future learning curves as the business continually adjusts to market changes. And they know that the true value of a new employee is often measured in units related to the ease of successfully navigating all these learning curves. To an employer like this, one question usually supersedes all the rest: How trainable is this job candidate?

You won’t hear employers asking a question like that in an interview, at least not directly. Instead, they look for clues…..things about the job seeker that are good indicators of trainability. I like to call them trainability factors. If you are that person looking for a job, it might help you to know what these factors are so that you can highlight them in your resume and during your interviews. Here are some of them:

  1. Willingness to learn: Employers know that when it comes to trainability, half the battle is the employee’s willingness to be trained. The last thing a company manager wants is to have to train someone who approaches a training session kicking and screaming, or just as badly, goes along with the training but does so with a notable lack of interest or effort. As a job seeker, you should make it clear that you are not a person who falls into this category. Specify in your resume and cover letter that you are a quick learner who is willing and able to ramp up to speed in learning the job. If a particular job entails a certain educational, certification, or licensing requirement, state your willingness to do whatever is necessary to fulfill that requirement. Even better, include examples to show that you were willing to undergo training, certification, or licensure in the past. If you are already aware of specific training requirements for the job you are seeking, then you can enroll in this training before your interview and show by your actions exactly how willing you are.
  2. Adaptability and flexibility: There is nothing as certain as change. This is especially true in the corporate world, where businesses are constantly adjusting to new technology, emerging trends, and changes in the business market. Employers know that a potential hire who is flexible and can adapt to change easily will become an employee who is trainable. Point out in your resume (and during interviews as well) any situations in your past where you were required to adapt to a new set of circumstances and did so successfully.
  3. Eagerness and enthusiasm: If you are an enthusiastic person by nature, then make sure you allow your enthusiasm to shine during your job interview. And be sure to mention your eagerness to work and learn prominently in your resume and/or cover letter too. Eagerness is a very attractive characteristic to potential employers. Managers are instinctively more confident in a person’s ability to assimilate in a new job and new environment when they see that the person has an enthusiastic outlook. And they know that this type of attitude will make a person more responsive to training.
  4. Perseverance and commitment: When the going gets tough, employers want tough employees who will keep going. Learning something new can be frustrating and difficult but a person who doesn’t give up easily can overcome these hurdles. In your resume, give examples of circumstances in your past where you tried your best to persevere through tough times.
  5. Integrity: It’s not hard to see that people who are prompt, dependable, and always keep their word are looked upon as valuable employees. They are also viewed as very trainable. Put your integrity on high display throughout the job seeking process. Always give honest answers to questions in your interview. And be very honest and forthright when you write your resume as well.

Your skills and your background are important considerations to a future employer – but they are far from the only ones. Employers want individuals who provide the best fit and that usually means individuals who can be trained successfully. When you write your resume with the trainability factors in mind, your resume will stand out because it will speak beyond your skills.

Kenneth McCall is director of IT for storage.com In this role he builds the systems that help customers find the best self storage units for their needs, for example through Kenneth’s and his team’s work customers can find self storage in Chicago and other cities. In his spare time, Kenneth likes to bike and participate in outdoor activities.

Many people in this economy know firsthand how it feels to have a college degree but no job to show for it. If you went to school for accounting but your dream was always to work in Hollywood, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for being the Tax Attorney to the Stars, no, you can still pursue that dream job you’ve always wanted, even if you do not have the degree to support it. College graduates are finding themselves in this situation across the country, they did what they were told and got a degree and now they have nothing to do.

So how do you make the best out of this situation? The first thing you do is stop crying. It can be a real bummer to realize that your degree does not hold much weight in the job market, but next time you are rejected from that dream job, remind yourself that you have a dream and that you will fulfill it.

You choose your path, not someone else

You can sit around and feel sorry for yourself that your degree isn’t what you want to do or you can move on and get creative with your job search. Just remember that the U.S. Department of Labor still says that college graduates face shorter periods of unemployment and have an overall higher income through their lives.

Time to get creative

As long as you are willing to work hard, there is always a way to find your dream job, even if you have a liberal arts degree. The first thing you need to find out is: What is your dream job? What are the right steps to get there, what can you do to help you get to that position, just how badly do you want  this and how hard are you willing to work for it?

You must figure out these questions if you are going to develop a plan of action. The answers may seem elusive but you can find the answers. Admitting that you do not know what you want to do with your life is not a failure, it just means that you have more time to find yourself and find the thing that makes you happy. Dealing with debt can be a difficult task when you are trying to change paths, so make sure your finances are handled before making a big transition. And it’s much easier to make a change now before you’ve trapped yourself in a career.

Work for free

Sounds awful right, but what if an unpaid internship gets you into the position you wanted? It doesn’t matter if you’re 15, 35 or 65, if you decide to change something and you find a way in, go for it. This could be your only opportunity. Sure it might be hard in the interim but you’re life will be enriched from your personal growth. Besides you can always get a second job to supplement your income. It’s your life, so go live it.

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