Career Resources

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Key words are key to getting hired

This article from the Wall Street Journal ( is an excellent reminder of the necessity of integrating industry key words into your resume and cover letter. As the author points out, the majority of  mid-size to larger firms are increasingly using text scanning software to identify qualified candidates. A great way to find industry key words is to read job descriptions for the positions you're interested and use as many of those key words as possible. 

A cool way to graphically see how well your resume or cover letter matches the job description is to copy and paste it into Wordle ( Then do the same for the job description.  In a matter of minutes, you'll get a visual graphic that pictorially displays whether or not you're a good fit for the job.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why hiring managers don't like blind dates

I wrote an earlier post around the theme of "It's not who you know, but who knows you." My point was that job seekers need to get known by the employees in the companies they want to work in so that, when an opportunity becomes available, they will be one the first people who get called in for an interview.

Yesterday, I attended a webinar given by Dick Bolles, renowned author of the best-selling career book, What Color is Your Parachute (  One of the key points he made is that when companies are hiring, they want to minimize as much risk as possible, given the huge monetary investment they are making.  How do they do this?  The least risky hiring method for companies is to promote employees from within, Mr. Bolles stated.  It makes sense.  Managers know these employees well and have witnessed their quality of work firsthand.  And what do you think was the second least risky hiring method?  It was for companies to approach current employees for referrals of people who would be good candidates.  In fact, many companies award bonuses to current employees who refer a candidate that eventually gets hired.

Conducting informational interviewing is a great way to get known by a company, as I emphasized in the post below.  So is attending professional meetings and conferences pertinent to your field.   Think of it this way.  If you were going on a first date with someone new, which would you prefer: a blind date or a date with someone who was recommended by a friend?  I think the answer is obvious.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Informational interviewing pays off

If there's one piece of advice I could give you at the start of the new year, it would be to make a resolution to do an informational interview. Yesterday, a woman who wants to break into the career counseling field contacted me to do one.  I was immediately and immensely impressed by her professionalism, her proactive approach and her sincerity.  After speaking with her for only 30 minutes, I knew that she was passionate about pursuing a career as a career counselor and I found myself wanting to do everything I could to help her succeed.

I have always been a strong advocate of students conducting informational interviews and this experience made me realize again just how impactful they can be.  As the interviewee, I felt honored that this person, just starting out in her career, was consulting with me and valued my opinions and insights.  At the end of our conversation, I found myself telling her to contact me anytime at all if she had any further questions.  And I meant it.  Because I was so impressed with her, I had no doubt that she would be one of the first people I contacted should there ever be a vacancy in my department.

I hope that this story is enough to convince you of the value of doing informational interviews.  If you do your homework, approach the informational interview in a professional manner and demonstrate your passion for pursuing a career in that field (this is key!), I'm sure that you will make an equally strong impression.  Your interiewee, no doubt, will be as flattered as I was that you are seeking out his or her advice.

And so I invite you to make a New Year's resolution to conduct at least one informational interview this year.  I can guarantee you that you will be glad you did.  Remember, too, that informational interviewing isn't just for those starting out in their careers.  It is an extremely valuable tool that can help anyone who is looking to switch jobs or switch careers.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Does your LinkedIn profile need a makeover?

The beginning of a new year is a great time to give your LinkedIn profile a makeover, especially if it's something you created a long time ago and left on the shelf to accumulate dust like so many tacky knick-knacks.  A "dusty" LinkedIn profile could definitely tarnish your personal brand and professional online image because, even though you may not have looked at it in months, you can bet that others have.

So take a good, hard look at your LinkedIn profile and determine if it portrays an accurate image of you - the image that you want to convey to your professional network.  Now is a great time to update your profile with a more current job description, books you're reading, events you're planning to attend, and perhaps even a new photo.  In writing your updated job description, make sure to highlight key accomplishments that you have achieved.  If you haven't been doing so before, the new year is a great time to begin updating your statuses frequently with professional pursuits.  By making these changes to your LinkedIn image, you will be positioning yourself as a professional who takes the time to stay current with his or her online brand, and employers will make the inference that you are someone who also stays current in your field.

You just never know when a great opportunity is going to present itself.  Shouldn't your LinkedIn profile be ready for when that happens?