Pandemic-Proofing Your LinkedIn Profile

 

More and more over the last several months, we are learning the continuing value of developing and maintaining a strong digital presence.  As our world becomes increasingly reliant on virtual connection in the age of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to adapt and hone our networking and communication skills to meet these needs.

Whether you are currently in the job search, or simply want to keep your marketing materials sharp and relevant in the event of an opportunity presenting itself, one of the most important things that you can do in this time is refresh your LinkedIn profile.

This article from Business Insider demonstrates exactly why LinkedIn is such a great opportunity for jobseekers at the moment, and does an excellent job of showcasing how you can go about updating your LinkedIn profile to meet the needs of the “next normal’s” job market.

A few key takeaways:

1. – Shift your thinking of the LinkedIn profile to that of a resource, not just a resume.

Too many times job seekers are guilty of treating their LinkedIn profile like a static online resume instead of like a resource that can be used to demonstrate your areas of expertise and allow you the ability to communicate with your audience.

Instead of creating a standing resume, experts suggest that you work to communicate how you contribute to your teams/industry and share your expertise.  You can do this in a number of ways, including sharing articles, references, media, and more.

2. – Refocus your “About” section

Historically on LinkedIn, people have had a tendency to craft an “About” section that is nearly identical to the professional summary on their resumes.  Instead, think about the About section as a more organic way to tell your story – what is it that you want readers to know about you as a professional – what is your “remarkable difference”?

3. – Connect with others genuinely

This one kind of seems like a no-brainer, but in the age of COVID-19, where so many of us are adjusting to the idea that we are #AloneTogether – genuine human connection can be hard to come by.  Making an effort to use LinkedIn to create genuine connections and network with people on a deeper scale will help you really gain traction in building your network and opening yourself up to new opportunities.

If you’re interested in reading the entire article from Business Insider, you can do so by clicking here.  We hope that this has been informative in helping you think about redesigning your LinkedIn profile a bit, and also in helping you think about redefining the way you think  about LinkedIn as part of your networking and job search strategy.

Have a great day and Go Bucks!

 

Handling a Layoff – What Now?

This post was originally written for Coach’s Corner in February 2018, however, in light of recent economic events, we felt that it was especially pertinent to re-share this information for any alums who might need it now.  For additional advice, you may also view our recorded webinar, “Laid-Off, Now What?” here.

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Layoffs – they happen to the best of us now and then.  Whether your company is downsizing and needs to cut departments and/or positions, or has simply decided to change their direction and deemed your position no longer necessary, layoffs can happen at any time.  Though this is a difficult situation to grapple with for anyone, there are some things that you can do in order to prepare yourself to deal with the loss of your job in the best way possible.  Below are a few tips on what you should do if you have been laid off, or are anticipating a layoff in the near future.

  1. – Check with your company about what benefits you may be entitled to

If you anticipate that a layoff is coming soon, or if you have been given notice that you are being laid off, one of the first things that you will want to do is contact your benefits representative and determine what, if any, benefits you are entitled to.  Benefits may include the continuation of health insurance, severance payments, retirement/pension payouts, and more.

Companies that employ more than 20 people are mandated by law to offer health insurance through COBRA for released employees for up to 18 months upon termination.  However, unless stipulated as part of your severance package, you will need to pay for the COBRA premiums yourself… and often they are quite expensive.  If you find the cost of maintaining COBRA insurance prohibitive, you also have the option to shop the federal Health Insurance Marketplace for insurance options.  You can compare these with the COBRA policy(ies) available to you and determine which will best meet your needs.

If you are enrolled in a 401k through your company, you may also be eligible for a lump-sum payout of your benefits upon release from your position.  The tax rules on this vary based on the specific type of retirement plan you have elected to enroll in, and your benefits administrator can generally direct you to the person(s) who can answer tax questions for you with regard to this.

Companies are not generally required to offer a severance package, and many will not – especially for non-executive employees.  Still, if you are being laid off, you are encouraged to ask whether or not this is an option for you.  The worst that can happen is that they say no – however, you might be surprised in finding that a package or settlement is offered, regardless of your seniority level.

  1. File an unemployment claim

Once you are officially unemployed, you will need to visit your local unemployment office or career center and file an unemployment insurance claim.  If you have been employed with your company for more than 90 days, and have been laid off through no fault of your own (the rules differ slightly for people who have been terminated due to actions of their causing), you should be eligible for unemployment.  Unemployment benefits pay about 60% of your working pay, up to a certain amount that is established as the limit.  This maximum limit for payment varies by state, so check with your local office to determine how much you may be eligible for.

Also, remember that unemployment insurance only pays for a certain amount of time.  The benefits do not continue indefinitely, so it is critical that you utilize the time that you have while receiving the benefits well.  Many states have a requirement that you actively apply for a certain amount of jobs per week as a stipulation for continuing to receive the benefit – you can also take classes or do additional continuous improvement as well (more on that later).

  1. Update your resume and references

Hopefully you are a person who updates his or her resume on a regular basis, keeping it fresh and ready for any opportunity that comes along.  If not, however, don’t fear.  There are many resources available on the web and in person to help you update your resume, regardless of how long it has been since you were last in the job search.  The career consultants in the Office of Alumni Career Management are one such resource, as we are happy to work with you to ensure that your resume and other job search documents (cover letters, follow up notes, etc.) are on par with what is generally expected in today’s job market and that they are showcasing you in ways that clearly define the best things about you to any prospective employer.

References are also a critical part of the job search strategy – especially since most people today are hired via networking connections as opposed to simply applying for posted jobs.  If you’d like a reference from your previous employer, make sure that you ask your supervisor or other associated personnel while they still remember who you are.  If you are employed by a large company and those that you work closest with are being terminated as well, you should ask for a letter of reference from management or human resources to ensure that you have that information to pass along to any future prospective employers.  You’ll also want to exchange contact information with any colleagues who you’d like to use as a reference for future purposes.  Remember that this is a two-way street, and offer to be a reference for them as well at some point in the future, should they need it.

  1. – Maximize your time

Being laid off can leave you shell-shocked, and unsure of what to do with yourself.  Whether this is your first time being unemployed, or if you’ve been down this road before, it is important to recognize that this is an opportunity for growth.  Sure, you’ll be looking for jobs and establishing or reestablishing connections as you work your way into a new employment situation, but remember that that isn’t all that you can do.  You also now have time to do some professional development.  This can be done by taking a few courses through LinkedIn Learning, continuing education classes through an association you’re affiliated with, or even enrolling in a certificate program through OSU!  Anything that you do to demonstrate that you are interested in continuing your growth and development will bode well by helping you make additional connections and demonstrating to potential employers that you are still capable and willing to learn new things.

  1. – Breathe

This is perhaps the most important of all the advice here today.  Being unemployed, for any amount of time, for any reason (that isn’t voluntary) can be incredibly stressful.  Make a concerted effort not to let yourself get caught up in the overwhelming thoughts about how you “don’t know what to do”.  Your situation does not have to be permanent – take things day by day, and remember to take care of yourself in the meantime. Make relaxation and self-care an important part of your re-employment strategy – you’ll feel better and be more focused as a result.

Best Practices for Virtual Interviewing

In our rapidly-changing world, it is easy to become overwhelmed – especially in the wide world of business and job searching. Many of you may have found yourself unexpectedly unemployed over the last several weeks, or you may be seeing the job search strategy you’ve meticulously crafted over months completely upended by the recent changes in the economic market. You may even be a manager in charge of filling specific roles and needing to add in the additional (and unanticipated) hurdle of technology when sourcing and vetting candidates.

Technology, though, does not have to be a dividing tool. In fact, technology is what will likely keep us together and productive in these unprecedented times. COVID-19 has drastically changed the landscape of the way we connect and work for the foreseeable future – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to stop us from successfully connecting. It only means that we need to adjust our expectations and be more intentional with our verbal communication while doing so.

Below is an excerpt from an article written by alumnus Jim Bollenbacher. Jim is the VP and Managing Partner at Bridgeway Search Group, a premier recruiting and staffing firm. Here he shares some excellent tips on how to make certain that your virtual interviews are successful.

Best Practices for Video Conferencing Interviews

  1. Be sure both parties have tested the technology at least two days before the interview.
  2. Internet connection, audio, and video.
  3. Pick a location with minimal distractions in the background.
  4. Send specific instructions on logging in, finding user names, who is initiating the conference, etc.
  5. Exchange phone numbers before the interview in case there are technical difficulties.
  6. Direct each party where to look. Although it might feel unnatural you should look and speak into the CAMERA not the screen.
  7. Position the camera at eye level.
  8. The bottom of your frame should start at the chest.
  9. Have a clear agenda. Who will lead the call and how will the call conclude?

Everyone wants to perform well . . . interviews are stressful enough. If both participants are confident with the technology and have a clear agenda, then they can focus on what’s important . . . are they a match?

Stay safe. Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from achieving your 2020 goals!

To read the full text of Jim’s post, or connect with him on LinkedIn, please visit the original article here.

 

Bias in the Job Search – Avoiding Triggers in Your Resume

Last week, we had an awesome webinar on the topic of bias in the job search, focusing on things that you as a jobseeker can do in order to avoid falling victim to the biases (conscious and unconscious) of a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR person.  Thank you everyone for the great feedback – we are so glad that you enjoyed it.  For those of you who weren’t able to attend, the recording is available in our webinar archive – but, here are some quick tips to help you fortify your resume so that you can get to more interviews!

  1. – Cut down on the amount of personal information you’re giving away

I know, I know – your resume is your marketing piece.  It’s where you put your best foot forward and give your potential employer the opportunity to get to know the *real* you, right?  Well, sort of.  Your resume is absolutely your strongest marketing piece for your job search – however, it is also rife with opportunities to count you out of a job based on triggers.  Avoid putting too much personal information in the resume.  Certain things are just not necessary in order to have a strong document, and they can hurt you more than they help you.  Some things to avoid including are:  your address, graduation dates, photos, and specific years of experience (if you have more than 10-15 years, that is).  You want an employer to look at your whole document, and not get hung up on one little thing – so the best thing to do is simply eliminate those things when and where you can.

  1. – Always have a clear, specific headline

Back in the old days (meaning, 10 years ago or so), we used to use an objective statement for every resume.  This was an easy way to customize your resume for specific employers, and a clear way to communicate what your professional goal was.  Unfortunately, including an objective statement on your resume today is a sure fire way to get passed over, because it immediately ages you (even if you’re a 20-something or 30-something) and makes you seem out of touch.  Instead, we opt for Professional Summaries that give the reader an idea of who we are and what we are about, rather than simply what we want.

The problem, though, is that sometimes we become a bit too lofty with our professional summaries, and not everyone has the time to read them.  One of the best things that you can do on your resume is create a “headline” (think, LinkedIn) immediately below your name (you know, where that address used to be), so that the reader knows who you are and what you do right off the bat.  Remember that the average recruiter spends less than 20 seconds reading through a resume before making a decision on whether or not to recommend you for next steps – it is your job to connect the dots and make it as easy as possible for them to see who you are and what you offer, so that they feel comfortable going forward with you as a candidate.

  1. – Master the AI aspect

Artificial intelligence, including those awful applicant tracking systems (aka, the resume robots) are here to stay.  Instead of railing against them and bemoaning their use, learn to make them work for you.  With regard to your resume, ATS are trained to do one thing:  use your skills and keywords to match the best candidate with the requisition from the company.  In order to be chosen as the best candidate, you need to speak the ATS’ language.  Use a wordcloud generator, or a tool like Jobscan.co to figure out how the ATS is reading your resume, and adjust it so that you are highlighting the same keywords, skills, and attributes that the computer is designed to look for.  This will help you get an interview, and from there, you can land the job.

Bonus:  Understanding the technology of today’s job search demonstrates awareness and ability to learn new things, which is always a plus for mature jobseekers, or those who have been out of the market for a while.

We hope that these tips will help you as you begin crafting your bias-proof resume.  As always, if you would like some one on one advice from one of our career consultants in the Office of Alumni Career Management, we are more than happy to assist you, either in person or virtually.

Have a great day, and Go Bucks!

The Best Jobs in America for 2019

Greetings everyone!

As we work our way through the first month of 2019, many of you are on the #newyearnewcareer train!  January is always a great time to start fresh in your career, whether that means transitioning to a different industry or position, or simply better positioning yourself for professional growth while remaining consistent with where you are for the moment.

With that in mind, Glassdoor has released its annual “Best Jobs in America” report, complete with a compilation of the top 50 jobs for professionals in 2019.  This report is, as always, chock full of excellent information for job seekers who are interested in knowing where industries and job types are projected to go throughout the next year.  Just to give a sample, here are the top five “Best Jobs” according to the report:

  1. Data Scientist – Average salary:  $108k/year – 6,510 projected openings
  2. Nursing Manager – Average salary:  $83k/year – 13,931 projected openings
  3.  – Marketing Manager – Average salary:  $82k/year – 7,395 projected openings
  4. Occupational Therapist – Average salary:  $74k/year – 17,701 projected openings
  5. Product manager – Average salary:  $115k/year – 11,884 projected openings

Additionally, the report forcasts a spike in demand for highly-skilled workers, and sees the healthy job market we are currently enjoying as one that is particularly favorable to job seekers.  Unsurprisingly, healthcare jobs continue to gain ground, taking up 8 of the top 50 spots, but this list is well-rounded, showing progress and opportunities for people across a variety of industries. All in all, it looks like this is a good time to change positions!

For the full report, check out Glassdoor here:  https://www.glassdoor.com/List/Best-Jobs-in-America-LST_KQ0,20.htm

 

Tools You Can Use (To Spruce Up Your Social Media)

Happy New Year everyone! We here in the Office of Alumni Career Management hope that you have had a wonderful holiday season and are starting the new year off with a bang!
This time of year always brings new year’s resolutions, and desires for self-improvement. Though we often see many new clients approaching us with desires about finding a new job, we recognize that a new gig isn’t necessarily everyone’s goal. However, whether you’re looking to start something new, or simply looking to refresh your own personal brand (hint: you definitely should be), we have a few tools that can help you along the way with that.

This week’s tools you can use focuses on two awesome tools that will support you in cultivating a strong, professional brand presence online. As we all know, the internet is an ever present part of our lives these days. We have long since surpassed the days where social media was this “new” thing that “the kids” were into – now it seems that everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn profile. And while you may not be one of “the kids” any more, it is likely that you’ve had these accounts for quite a while. If so, there’s a possibility that you may have said or done something (maybe years ago) online that is now coming back to haunt you in your current life. The worst part? You might not even know/remember what it is.

That’s where our tools you can use come in! Our tools this week are WillMyTweetsGetMeFired? and Brand Yourself.

The first tool, WillMyTweetsGetMeFired? is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a tool that, for $2.99, will comb through all of your public tweets of old and flag the ones that are likely to cause trouble for you professionally. The algorithm looks for things like: profanity, racial slurs, nudity, etc. and it highlights them for your review. Of course, you can look at each of them and decide individually whether or not those are tweets that you think you should get rid of, prior to deleting them.

The second tool, Brand Yourself, goes a little farther. For $9.99, Brand Yourself does a complete sweep of the internet and gives you a score. It will scan through any social media accounts that you have, including the standards of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc. and flag any strange or unbecoming posts. This includes posts that (may) contain profanity, sexual references, and anything else that may be deemed “offensive” to others (think: political opinions, etc.). Those can be reviewed by you so that you can determine whether or not you would like to keep them or delete them.

Additionally, Brand Yourself will offer up advice/steps that you can take to make your online presence more positive, including optimizing search results, etc. so that you appear higher when being “Googled” or otherwise researched.

Both of these tools are important, because they work in accordance with applicant tracking systems – you know, the dreaded “resume robots” we are all accustomed to dodging during online applications. What you may not know is that the ATS not only scans and scores the documents that you submit online as part of your application, but they may also scan the internet in search of mentions of you, and include the content they find in your overall score. Because of this, it is critically important that you are cognizant of the things that you have posted in the past, as well as things that you will post in the future. Always think before you post, and if you’re ever in doubt, these tools can definitely lend you a helping hand!

Job Search Tools You Can Use This Week – Part Two

Happy Monday all!  Here it a quick list of resources and tools to help you in your job search this week:

 

  1. – Versatile PhD

Versatile PhD is the oldest and largest online social community dedicated to assisting PhDs build careers outside of academia.  Specializing in PhDs with concentrations in humanities, social sciences, and STEM, the platform provides members with the opportunity to discover interesting career paths, network and consult with the larger PhD community, and see job listings appropriate for PhDs.

Why it’s great:  Versatile PhD focuses primarily on those PhDs who are not currently seeking work in academia – the focus is on non-academic, non-faculty careers.  There are more than 85,000 members that PhDs can connect and network with, even attending local meet-ups if they would like!  This is a great way to build community and find support as you take a non-traditional path toward a career outside of the academic world.

 Where you can get it:  For OSU alumni, visit the “Job Search Resources” page of the Career Management website here:  https://www.osu.edu/alumni/services/career-management/job-search-resources/  and log in with your OSU credentials to join the site!

  1. – AlumniFire

AlumniFire is Ohio State’s exclusive online professional networking site, where members can work with one another to support each other’s professional development and growth.  As a member, you’ll have the ability to search Buckeyes based on any number of variables, including industry, location, class year, college, and more.  You can seek them out for support based on what they are “offering”, and you have the ability to offer professional development support to others as well.  AlumniFire is what I often refer to as “LinkedIn Lite” – it allows for many of the same benefits of LinkedIn, including job listings, a bulletin board for announcements, and networking opportunities.  However, it is a much smaller, more contained online platform that is exclusive to Ohio State alumni, faculty/staff, and current students.  It also has a feature that LinkedIn doesn’t – offerings

Why it’s great:  Every person who is a member of the site is required to “offer” something to the general community – general career advice, networking assistance, resume reviews, etc.  This takes some of the pressure off when reaching out to someone to obtain their assistance, because they have already “raised their hand” to help you!

Where you can get it:  http://osu.alumnifire.com

  1. – Alumni Career Connection

By virtue of being an alumnus of this great institution, you are eligible for a number of benefits through the Office of Alumni Career Management.  One of those resources is Alumni Career Connection, our alumni-exclusive job board.  With as many as 20 companies per day posting opportunities specifically seeking to hire our graduates, there are many chances to explore and obtain work, regardless of your field or point in your career transition.  There are entry-level positions available, as well as professional-level opportunities for more seasoned workers.  This is a great benefit for any of our alumni who are currently seeking.

Why it’s great:  Job opportunities exclusive to OSU alumni?  What more do I need to say?  J

Where you can get ithttps://www.osu.edu/alumni/services/career-management/alumni-career-connection.html

  1. – Career Management Webinar Library

Another addition to the wealth of resources that we have available to you through this office is our webinar library.  Here you will find more than 25 webinars hosted by either our career consultants or select distinguished alumni, on topics ranging from doing well in an interview to networking in different ways.  There are also informative sessions that cater to specific areas of interest, such as women returning to work, or defining success on your own terms.

Why it’s great:  Lots and lots of career advice, for people at any stage in their career development.

Where you can get ithttps://www.osu.edu/alumni/services/career-management/webinars.html

 

I hope that these resources are valuable to you as you work your way through your job search – whatever stage you may be at currently.  Don’t forget that you can always reach out to our office for additional assistance, by calling 1.800.635.8944 as well.

Make it a great week!

Three Tips for Rocking an Out of State Job Search

So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to spread your wings and relocate to another state for your next career move.  If so, you’re not alone.  A recent survey from MSN shows that 1 in 4 jobseekers are willing and ready to relocate in order to facilitate a career change.  With those statistics, you might think that employers are open to candidates from varying locales, but ask any number of job seekers who have been in the hunt for a job outside of their current area, and you will likely find that securing a position in another state is a bit more challenging than you’d expect.  Oftentimes employers do not offer relocation packages, and they may look poorly on candidates from different areas because of the time and effort that it would take to have them move to the job location.  Sometimes employers just don’t want the bother.

So, what can you do about it?  Below are three tips to help you move your interstate job search forward.

  1. – Remove location markers from your resume

Most recruiters agree that when they see a resume with an out of state address, it comes off as something of a red flag.  They anticipate that employers will give pushback on those candidates, and therefore they are moved to the bottom of the “priority list”.  One of the easiest things that you can do to make yourself more competitive in the out-of-state job market is to remove your address from the document altogether.

Also, keep in mind that an address is no longer an important element of the resume – in fact, it is pretty erroneous information at this point.  You would be better served to use the area traditionally reserved for your address to instead showcase a link to your Linkedin profile or a headline introducing yourself to the employer.

You can also take it a bit farther and remove the locations of previous jobs that you have held as well (since this is also not pertinent information) and use the Google voice app to create a local phone number.  These two strategies are less common, but still considered acceptable according to most recruiters.

  1. – Talk about it and BE HONEST

Once you’ve been called for an interview, it is best to address the topic upfront.  When talking with a potential employer, you should use affirmative language and reference a time-frame for your move.  For example, you might ask for a Skype or phone interview for the first round.  At that point, you would let the company know that you are planning to relocate by saying something along the lines of, “Yes, I currently live in Ohio – however, I anticipate moving to Boston within the next 8 weeks.”  You should also include that you are prepared to move at your own cost, as many companies rule out candidates for whom they feel they will have to make a substantial investment in up front (such as a relocation package).

Also take care not to lie or lead an employer on.  I’ve often seen candidates use a local address on an application in order to avoid getting red flagged for being a non-local applicant.  This is fine – however, be sure that you explain clearly to an employer that this is the address you anticipate staying at once you arrive in the area, and not your current address.  Telling an employer you currently reside in LA with a current employer in Colorado is a sure fire way to get those red flags raised again, and, what’s worse, now you look like a liar to the hiring manager.  Don’t do it – this is never a good idea.

  1. – NETWORK!

Aside from the above two tips, you should treat your out of state job search largely the way that you would a local search – with the exception of needing to cast a much wider net.  Network with as many people as you can from your target area – Linkedin is a great tool for this.  You should be making connections with people in your industry and preferred area – be diligent about this, and make sure any meetings/informational interviews/etc. are as fruitful and meaningful as possible.

You should also be prepared to make a few trips to your target area as well.  Doing this will allow you to meet with your connections in real time, as well as become familiar with the area itself.  Depending on your familial situation, you may also need to research housing, schools, etc.  All of this will be much easier to do in person.