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predictive analytics and your career

“While not new, predictive analytics is an important factor in assessing a candidate’s fit and potential. What is new is its accelerating use in corporate America as a means to filter candidates in and out of consideration long before any personal assessment is made.” — Lou Adler

Lou Adler is a regular contributor to LinkedIn and has so much experience and authority in his perspective on the hiring process that it is worth taking the time to understand what he says about the way Big Brother is Now Determining Your Hirability. Today, a person seeking a position is filtered by all that is in their resume, and all that is in their online brand as well. There’s a list of characteristics that fit into a pattern; the pattern of the Achiever.

Here is what the “Achiever Pattern” that many companies look for consists of:

  • lower turnover with growing responsibility
  • quality of the years of experience rather than number of years
  • quickly being assigned (or volunteering) for important projects and/or teams
  • demonstrating same patterns of initiative & responsibility in every position
  • rehiring and being rehired by past co-workers
  • participation in expanding cross-functional teams

Why Are Certain Qualities Desirable?

If you look at the Achiever Pattern’s overall impression, you see someone who is willing and able to work within any setting and maximize the potential. They are good to work with, as evidenced by the fact they hire past co-workers and are hired by people who have worked with them in the past. There’s a pattern there of more than a self-centered trampling on the way to a shinier inflated ego — the achievement they consistently reach is an achievement that is good for everyone.

If you don’t have these qualities, you may be filtered out of the running before you ever get to the interview. It may be a good idea to carefully look at your resume and online presence and see how accurately they are portraying your own achievements. LinkedIn profile development has never been more important than it is today because it reveals a pattern that your next employer uses to predict your hirability.

 

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mashable
Recently, I was honored to be among industry experts discussing current trends in resumes and cover letters on a Mashable Biz Chat. Tracy Edouard, Marketing and Communication at Mashable, gives us the highlights of Mashable’s #BizChats Twitter chat on how to transform your resume and cover letter for the better and you can see different professional perspectives on these questions:

  1. Is it important to have both a cover letter and resume when submitting job applications? Why or why not?
  2. How can someone truly make their resume stand out from the competition?
  3. What features are important to showcase on someone’s resume? (GPA, school, skills, etc.)
  4. What are employers and recruiters looking for in resumes and cover letters?
  5. What are the biggest cover-letter mistakes professionals are making?
  6. How important is design when it comes to creating a resume and cover letter?
  7. What are the top resources available for resume and cover letter support?
  8. What final tips do you have about creating great resumes and cover letters?

These are all good questions. And the input from the various professionals involved is valuable without a doubt. But do you know what the most striking thing about this Twitter chat is?

There Isn’t An Excuse For An Ineffective Resume & Cover Letter

We have the ability to pull experts from all over the place for a chance to pick their brains. Every expert tweeting is linked to a site with a wealth of information, and there is no reason a job seeker with access to an expert can’t get expert advice. Much of that advice is free, too!

The overwhelming consensus is that you can have an effective resume and cover letter by putting the right effort into it. Sometimes that effort involves doing the research on current trends and revamping it yourself, sometimes it takes a resume critique from a professional to help you see what needs to be done, and sometimes your best investment is in a professional resume service.

The help you need to have a powerful resume and cover letter is out there and you can find it easily, along with a wealth of career advice from experts in your field.

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take linkedin to the next level with these tips

I hope that by now you have a LinkedIn profile because this social media platform is one of the best ways to keep your career viable — if you use it wisely. But once you have completed your profile and started exploring your options, how do you decide what is a good thing to do? And how do you figure out how to do it?

Search Engine Journal has recently given us some good ideas in Kristi Hines’ 10 LinkedIn Tips and Strategies You Need To Know. These are helpful suggestions that may be exactly what you are looking for:

  1. How to unsubscribe from blog posts — a great help in uncluttering your inbox
  2. How to quickly change group digest frequency — another de-clutter benefit
  3. How to see where you rank — it can make a difference
  4. How to put links on your profile — to your site, your writing, etc.
  5. How to get LinkedIn Premium features for less — who doesn’t like a bargain?
  6. How to schedule updates to LinkedIn — and take some of the drudgery out of your life
  7. How to get LinkedIn testimonials on your website — you do have a website by now, right?
  8. How to research customers on LinkedIn — or anybody else, like potential employers
  9. How to target Facebook and Twitter ads to LinkedIn connections — you may not be actually putting out ads, but it is good to know
  10. How to research competitors on LinkedIn — and see how you stack up

How Is Marketing Like Career Building?

It’s true that Search Engine Journal is not usually a site you’d find career advice on, but the line between marketing and career building is very fuzzy. If you think about it, marketing is just presenting the best of your business to the public in various ways so the people see and respond appropriately. Isn’t career building presenting the best of your skills, knowledge, and experience to get an appropriate response?

In fact, skill marketing is a way to get people thinking about you as a potential asset for new positions. The more you can utilize platforms like LinkedIn to show what you have to offer, the easier it is for people to see what you bring to the table.

 

 

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practical tips for holiday job hunting

The holidays and the end of the year are already times that most of us consider more stressful than other seasons. But for some, the stress isn’t from finding the perfect gift — it’s from finding yourself unemployed.

Whether it is the result of end-of-year layoffs or you have been searching for a job for some time, this time of year is challenging when there isn’t a regular paycheck in the works. Dave Ramsey, the financial guy, just gave us 7 Practical Tips for Dealing With Job Loss at Christmas and his suggestions are actually practical any time of year:

  1. cut back your spending
  2. change your outlook
  3. stick to your routine
  4. find seasonal work
  5. get creative
  6. be open with your family
  7. put the holidays in perspective

Don’t Give Up

You can keep up the job hunt during the holidays and have a huge advantage because there are so many networking opportunities. Parties and gatherings are great ways to connect with people without making appointments. Temporary jobs can easily turn into full-time and if they don’t you still have that paycheck and more work experience. Many a temp worker becomes manager later on so don’t discount the lowly position.

The thing I like about Dave Ramsey’s tips is that they make sense. When you are looking for a job, you need to be doing all those things and not pretend that everything is the same. It isn’t the same — and that is good because it gives you an excellent opportunity to make things better. It’s like getting rid of the junk in your house so you can clean it and start over with the good things you decided to keep.

 

 

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Swearing

Some industries tolerate a lot more colorful language than others. But even in fields known for cursing, having a foul mouth can cost you big time. Pro football’s Rex Ryan, coach of the Jets, was recently “stunned” that the NFL fined him $100,000 for profanity toward an official. He says he didn’t expect what he thought was a private conversation to result in such a big penalty.

The Things You Say Have An Effect

Probably the language Rex Ryan used was to emphasize what he wanted to say. Then again, maybe he talks like that all the time because he hears it all the time. That old saying, “garbage in, garbage out” definitely comes into play when it comes to our words. So how do we discern when the cost of letting it fly is too high?

  • Figure out if you have a tendency to use words like the F-bomb without thinking about it. If you don’t realize what your language is like, you already have a problem because your brain isn’t in gear when your mouth is in motion. While it can be argued that an occasional curse word will emphasize a point, that same word littering your sentences is meaningless pollution.
  • Listen to the way upper level management speaks. If your industry doesn’t condone salty language, your saltiness will keep you from advancing. Swearing around the boss is far more offensive when the boss doesn’t ever swear at work. There might be lots of it tossed around the cubicles, but if management doesn’t do it, then you shouldn’t either.
  • How do you express frustration or anger to a colleague? A raging rant full of expletives might be a venting mechanism, but it isn’t solving any problems. If all you do is curse the darkness, your contribution is negative. But lighting a candle — working on a solution — shows you have something valuable to offer.

The language we use is part of who we are, but it can give the hearer a negative impression of how you will be in a higher-level position. That false impression is why the language of our lifestyle can ruin a career opportunity. It would be a shame to let it happen to you.

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the top reason professional resume distribution works

Is anybody in your family interested in your family history? My mom is our family historian. She has our family tree going back to the 1600’s! It’s pretty amazing what she’s found out and who she has met along the way. One thing most genealogists will tell you is that researching a family tree is a lot like networking. Many families will have one person in the generation who is willing to keep all the photos and letters and information, and finding that person is like finding a treasure trove. Instead of laboriously working on finding one branch, suddenly you discover that they’ve got the connections to a whole bunch of branches and they know the people who are the keepers of the photos and letters and information for all of them.

If you are interested in finding the connections in your ancestry, you need to find the people who are already doing the research. They have already made connections you have no access to until you contact them. For example, if you never meet Great Aunt Irma, then you won’t get to see all the letters your grandma sent to her dad with the pictures of your dad as a baby.

Networking

Companies use recruiters to fill executive positions and many other types of openings. A professional resume distribution service has carefully maintained connections with many professional recruiters so that a resume goes to the right recruiters for that job seeker. The connections have already been made: These are professionals who rely on networking for their career and carefully maintain the connections between them. Instead of Great Aunt Irma keeping your dad’s baby pictures, they’ve got first knowledge of job openings, and you won’t find out about it unless you connect to the right one.

This networking is the reason professional resume distribution works so much better than a blind email blast to every company in the phone book or a hopeful query out of nowhere. If your resume is presented by a reputable distribution service, that reputation enhances your resume by association. Recruiters get untold numbers of resumes all the time. It makes sense to filter them for efficiency. The fact you recognized quality and respected professional standards weights your submission with authority.

 

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are you making these linkedin mistakes?

It’s easy to approach LinkedIn like it’s a professional version of Facebook, but that is not a good idea. Many professionals very carefully do not have any overlap at all between their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles but realize that somehow, somebody will figure out the connections so they are still careful online. In fact, that’s the first mistake you can make:

Common Mistakes Seen On LinkedIn

  1. Not monitoring the way your name and identity (brand) show up online keeps you from seeing when there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Set up a Google Alert on all variations of your name and use a few search engines to see how you look to a potential employer who is researching your suitability for an opening.
  2. No profile picture, or an unprofessional profile picture make an impression all right, an impression that you don’t care about your career enough to use a suitable photograph.
  3. An incomplete profile reveals your failure in completing a task and triggers questions about how you’ll complete tasks on the job. It also shows you haven’t taken the time to learn how to effectively use the tools at your disposal.
  4. Not updating your status with recent accomplishments or authoritative content makes you look like nothing is happening.
  5. Thinking LinkedIn is only for job seekers and ignoring the network until you need a job keeps you from the real benefits of professional networking.

If you are at all serious about your career, you should be regularly paying attention to how to improve your LinkedIn capabilities. There’s been plenty of tips on this blog, and we even offer professional LinkedIn Profile Development if you decide you need that service. The professional networking you have on LinkedIn isn’t like any other type of social media, and it’s worth your time and effort to learn how to avoid making mistakes.

 

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how long have you been in the race?

Have you noticed that the working world is kind of like a track event? Some races are marathons, and the runners who win are slow and steady folks who keep on moving ahead, where the sprinters, the ones who zip past leaving their co-workers in a cloud of dust, don’t always stay on track. Not that sprinting is bad, it’s just a different race and the techniques that work in a short speed contest don’t do well in endurance challenges. Track events will generally have a variety of contests and different skills will win different events.

Sometimes an athlete will move from one event to another, like the sprinter in the marathon. If the sprinter has developed the endurance to keep a steady pace and still have the strength to run fast at the end, they will likely be the winner. If they have no endurance, they won’t be able to keep up in the long run. An athlete who has learned how to adapt can switch to several events and win them all, but it takes experience and training. It also takes recognition that they are capable of moving from one category to the next.

A worker who has moved up to manager or supervisor and shown 2 – 10 years of quality work is often ready to be promoted from one event to the next, but they have trouble getting the recognition for their abilities. Because they are seen as capable managers or supervisors, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they will be seen as executives. It’s like the marathon runner has announced they are entering the sprint.

Our professional resume packages highlight all the accomplishments in your career and showcase the skills that you will bring to a promotion. They are perfect for presenting your abilities as a professional ready to add a different category to your career.

If you have been the race for a long time, maybe it is time to up your game. Go over your resume part by part and make sure it represents who you are today and where you see yourself going. Do your accomplishments shine brightly? Is your experience rich with detail but yet concise enough to not bore your reader to tears? Does your resume have action statement and keywords to pass a keyword scanning machine? To stay competitive, update your resume yearly with highlights of what you did the previous year. Don’t leave it until the last minute when someone is asking for it. Like training, it takes a bit of time and thought, but the results will be worth it.

 

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top questions you should not be asked

In an interview, it’s all about the questions. The conversation is pretty much a standard question-and-answer format for the most part. But there are some questions that should not be asked because it is illegal to do so. Federal and state anti-discrimination laws are designed to get you hired based on your skills, not a stereotype.

Doostang recently posted a list of Ten Questions You Should Never Be Asked In An Interview. It’s a clear list of questions that could be discriminatory and the possible “fair” questions that would be similar. The basic categories are simple:

  • Who you are — your race, national origin, disabilities, age, gender, marital/parental status. These things should not affect your job in themselves, although being eligible to work in this country (national origin) or capable of doing the job with/without accommodation (disability, age) can be fair questions.
  • What background you have — bankruptcy, arrest records, type of military discharges might come up in a security check, but they should have disclaimers or be part of a credit check you approve. They shouldn’t be reasons not to hire you.
  • Which groups you belong to — political, social, religious groups or unions; if the employer is a religious association, they can give preference to those belonging to their religion, but for the most part, it shouldn’t be asked. Job-related groups like professional associations are different.

There are many reasons an inappropriate question comes up during an interview. Often, it has nothing to do with wrong motives. The interviewer is just unaware they crossed a line. Your response can be professional, tactful, and firm without creating more problems. Try answering in the form of how it affects your job. “I am able to fill all the requirements of this position” sounds a lot better than “That is a discriminatory question! You have no right to ask me that!”

Of course, if they push it, you could go there if it’s clear you are dealing with discrimination. But be professional, tactful, and firm about it and you’ll have a better response.

It is important to be prepared for potentially discriminatory questions, and that is part of your interviewing skills. There are a number of helpful posts when you follow the link, and each one will give you good advice. Professional Resume Services has a goal: we want to see you go through the interview successfully and get the job you want!

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Grammar errorWhen it comes to grammar and spelling mistakes, there are usually two kinds of people: those who see it and those who don’t. If you are a member of the latter group, it is kind of like being colorblind. You know there is a difference when it is pointed out to you, but it really doesn’t stick out enough to notice. Unlike being colorblind, though, there are things you can do about improving your grammar and spelling. It really is a skill you need to work on because it will affect you all through your career.

The reason you need to work on writing accurately is because the first group of people (yes, I admit, I am one of those anal retentive types), are the ones who see grammar and spelling mistakes– and can’t help seeing them. They know, because they are told, that grammar and spelling don’t matter to many, but it matters to them. Because it matters to them, it affects the way they view a “professional” who makes a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes — they see an “unprofessional” who doesn’t care about details and may not do a good job.

All the advice on how to avoid mistakes when writing your resume and cover letters applies to your business writing, too. Even executive resume writers make mistakes, but when writing things that affect their job they carefully do their best to correct mistakes by proofreading and using tools like spellcheck. The tools are limited, so the human has to pay attention or the wrong (correctly spelled) word could be used. All the writing you do for your workplace should be proofread because it becomes a permanent record reflecting your abilities to communicate as well as the actual information in the material.

Whenever I hear someone say that spelling doesn’t matter, I think of Dan Quayle and potato. In 1992, Mr. Quayle was the Vice President of the United States, doing the best job he could. He was a guest helper at a spelling bee, using a flash card with “potatoe” on it, and corrected a student’s spelling of “potato” by suggesting it needed the “e” at the end. It would be easy to Google this incident, and you would see what that little mistake did to his political career because it gave his critics an excuse to dismiss his abilities.

Now, Mr. Quayle was not in a position to be proofreading right then. But you usually can be careful with the writing you do for business purposes. You can start to work on your grammar and spelling skills, too, by checking things that don’t look right. There are many helpful (and free) online lessons to take advantage of. If you know you are one of those who don’t “see” the mistakes, assume you are making some and do what you can to correct it. One of the most common spelling errors I see is “manger” for “manager”. I probably notice this the most because I used to make it all the time! Manger is an actual word so it was never corrected by spell check. Luckily, Microsoft Word has tools you can use and adjust to catch your most commonly misspelled words. Spelling matters, so make sure to have a second set of eyes on your work!

 

 

 

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