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Deciding Whether You Need to Write a Career Plan

In the same way that a Vision Statement helps a company define its goals, a personal Career Plan can help you to solidify your goals and identify the steps you should consider taking in order to reach those goals. Whether a Career Plan would be useful to you is a question only you can properly answer. It can provide solid preparation for that “old standby” interview question of “where you see yourself in five years,” and it can help you sort out the questions or uncertainties in your own mind about what you want from your professional life. If you think that formulating a Career Plan might be a productive use of your time, here are some thoughts to consider as you shape your thoughts.

 

Lay the Groundwork with a Self-Assessment

Before constructing a Career Plan (or deciding whether a Plan is necessary), take some time to identify your own values, interests, and skills.

• What do you want out of a job? A certain salary level? The freedom to exercise creativity? The ability to employ a certain skill set?

• What do you enjoy doing? How might your personal interests overlap with or inform the career field of your choice?

• What are your personal skills? Consider both natural talents (maybe leadership, organization, or creative thinking) and learned skills (training in a specific area, education on a particular topic, experience gained in the field).

Draw Yourself a (Verbal) Picture

As you answer these questions about yourself, you may begin to gain a clearer picture of what type of career-path would best suit you. Now see if you can composite all of that information into a description of the professional role that would be “perfect” for you. Now compare that idealized description to existing opportunities in your career field, and fix a target for yourself. Identify the job you want.

Create a Ladder of Goals

With your end objective in mind, itemize the “steps” or goals you’ll need to target on the way to achieving your desired end result. Will you need particular types of job experience? Additional education? Networking with colleagues? Publications or credits in the field? Creating a ladder of quantifiable steps toward your end goal will enable you to focus your energies on the “action plan” that can get you there.

Don’t be Afraid to Revise

People change; companies change, technologies change, and unexpected opportunities may come your way. Don’t consider your Career Plan as a “locked in” document you must follow till you retire; rather, take a fresh look at it periodically and see if it still suits you as you grow and mature in your career path. Perhaps the individual goals or even the end result could use some adjustments or corrections due to changes in your field or in yourself.

If you decide that writing a Career Plan will be a useful tool for you, look for inspiration and tips from resources like Stafco. The true decision of whether to formulate a Career Plan rests with you. If you still have questions about what you want from your professional life, writing a Career Plan may be a productive focus for your energy.

 

Steven R. Brown is the CEO of Quality Communication Solutions. Quality Communication Solutions will provide the exact solutions you need for any type of speaking, writing, reporting, or presenting challenge that you may face. Both corporate and individual clients are equally welcome. Rates for services provided are comfortably affordable. Quality of the work provided will be unsurpassed. See: http://www.QualityCommunicationSolutions.com

Back To The Basics: Baby Boomer Job Searching Tactics

Baby boomers faced with the prospect of job searching—in some cases for the first time in years—need to employ more sophisticated tactics in an overall job searching strategy.  The days of relying strictly on a resume are long gone.  While a well-written resume is still important, it’s only one tool in a job search tool kit.  To really compete with younger job candidates, baby boomers need to incorporate social media, boost their education and increase networking activity for an effective job search strategy.

 Social Media Skills

A lot of baby boomers haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon.  That’s understandable.  But for baby boomers who really want to boost their chances of getting a new job in a timely fashion, learning to use social media is necessary.  The good news is that it’s actually fairly simple.  The first step should be establishing a LinkedIn profile.  The best way to think about LinkedIn is that it should complement your resume, not replace it.  One of the LinkedIn features that baby boomers can really use to their advantage is the ability for posting recommendations.

 

Previous co-workers and managers can write glowing recommendations about your work performance in previous jobs.  This is great because it lets someone else brag about you, but it also gives a baby boomer an upper hand.   Recently graduated job searchers may be younger than you, but when it comes to work experience, they can’t compete.  A baby boomer can really capitalize on the recommendations feature and prospective employers will be sure to notice those recommendations.  That’s a good way to turn age to your advantage.

 

Get Back On the Education Train

One of the issues that baby boomers face can be lack of education.  In the 60’s and 70’s it was common for capable individuals to get great jobs with just a high school diploma.  Many of those folks proved to be exceptionally competent and went on to rise into corporate ranks and often managed people who had college degrees.  But when baby boomers have to go back into a highly competitive job market with just a high school diploma, they face a serious disadvantage.

 

One of the ways that baby boomers can become more competitive is to attend college.  Going to a traditional four year college may not be especially attractive, but an online degree  offers a lot of flexibility and can augment a resume that features a lot of experience but little post-secondary education.

 

Network Effectively

Networking is another tactic that tends to produce results when searching for a new job.  If you’ve just gotten back into the job market after years of employment and no networking experience, it’s an important step and it’s actually enjoyable.  Two components of networking that you should be pursuing involve using your LinkedIn profile to leverage new contacts within your desired industry as well as good old-fashioned person-to-person networking.

 

It’s important to reach out to professional contacts and arrange lunch meetings and occasional dinners.  Getting to know people within a company is important.  Leveraging friendships works.  Knowing someone within an organization who will recommend you is still one of the best ways into a company because a highly placed employee giving your resume to HR is always going to be more.  If you integrate social media with continuing education and good networking practices, you’ll be a lot better positioned to find a good job than many of your contemporaries.

Jobs For People Over 50 – On The Road To Where?

The economy is unstable, to say the least, we don’t know if Social Security will come through for us (or even still be in existence) when we retire, and we keep hearing that we’re the part of the workforce that is least likely to get hired. CBS News even has a video titled Baby Boomers: America’s New Unemployables. That’s not exactly reassuring!

But Baby Boomers have a Secret Weapon that is more powerful than all of the gloom and doom and negative press. WE KNOW HOW TO USE OUR BRAINS! We are the largest and most successful generation in history, and we’ve had over 30 years experience in “making things happen”. Collectively, we’ve taken charge of the situations we’ve been faced with, looked head-on at the problems in front of us, and come up with a solution. How powerful is that!

So here we are again, looking at our situation, and trying to figure out “Where do I go from here?”

We may not have the answer to that question yet, but, rest assured, we will get it!

Luckily, there are road maps to help us get where we want to be. The steps are so simple that a child could follow them. As a matter of fact, they are the basic tenets of problem solving in child psychology. A good friend of mine, who is a child psychologist, calls them “your problem solving tools”. She advises her young patients to put them in their “problem solving kit”, and make sure they always carry it with them.

• The first tool is RECOGNITION. You must recognize that you have a problem before you can solve it.

• The second tool is DEFINITION. You may know that you have a problem, but if you don’t know what it is, you still can’t solve it.

• The third tool is RESOLUTION. And yes – YOU DO HAVE THIS TOOL! It may take a little while to become adept at using it, but if you actually “read the directions” you will become a master at using the resolution tool.

So… you’ve recognized that you have a problem and you’ve defined it; you need to find another job or career. Now, how do you go about resolving it?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a right brain person (Random/Intuitive) or a left brain person (Logical/Sequential/Rational). It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. It doesn’t matter what problem you’re trying to solve; THE STEPS ARE THE SAME.

Lucky for you, you don’t have to take the first step by yourself. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to take any of the steps by yourself. We’re here to walk you through them! And, don’t get nervous; there are only 3 steps! How hard can that be? Hopefully, it will be as easy as 1,2,3.

 

To learn more about improving your career after 50, download my free ebook on the TOP JOBS for people over 50

Joe Mayer is the owner and editor of http://workingpeopleover50.com where he helps with useful advice and tips for working people over 50.

Tips for Finding a New Job While You Are Currently Employed

The current job market is not ideal and there is uncertainty; that said there are great career opportunities out there. If you are currently employed it is more difficult to conduct a job search, but it can be done smartly and respectfully. Here are some tips for a productive job search while currently employed, and moving on with grace:

 

Confidentiality 
Job hunting while you are employed can be tricky. You don’t want to burn bridges or be replaced before you have found your dream job. While in general the more people who know you are looking, the easier for people to find you, this is not an option when you need to keep your current employment. Conducting a job search confidentially means choosing the people you tell wisely. Typically you wouldn’t include your co-workers, upper management, or company contacts in this secret. Working with a recruiter will protect your identity until mutual interest with a prospective employer is established. When you do have an interview, let the company know that your job search is confidential.

Do It On Your Own Time & Dime 
This is your job search, make sure you do this on your personal time and use your own resources. Make sure that you provide only personal the contact information on your resume or cover letter. For job search correspondence, use a personal email, or set up a new email, and use your own phone and personal computer. This is respectful of the work contract in which you are currently engaged, and will keep you out of any conflicts that could arise if your job search becomes known.

Interviewing 
Just as the job searching should be done on your own time, ideally interviews should too. This is not always possible of course, so when you can’t schedule a phone or onsite interview outside of work hours, use your paid time off. Rather than invent any reasons, simply use your personal time. And be careful if you going to work on the same days as your interview that you don’t give yourself away by arriving dressed in a suit and tie that you never wear to work!

Internet Job Hunting 
Privacy settings may include your name and contact information for example, and some offer the ability to block specific viewers such as your current company from viewing your resume. While the internet offers vast resources, be careful about what you broadcast on social media from Twitter to LinkedIn, your comments can be widely distributed and very difficult to retract. Review your photos and personal information as employers use social media too!

Networking 
It is difficult to utilize networks when your job search is confidential, however you can strengthen relationships and communications in general which may open up some doors and offer insight into new opportunities.

Moving On With Grace 
Stay invested in your current position and honor the work contract and trust that you have with your current employer while job searching. Until you have accepted an offer in writing, don’t tell anyone about your job search or new job. Once the new position is confirmed, tell your boss first and follow the usual protocols of providing adequate notice (typically at least two weeks). Be graceful in your departure. The relationships you have built here are important, whether for continuing business relations in the same industry, obtaining recommendations in the future, or even future employment down the road with colleagues.

About Redfish Technology, Inc.

Redfish Technology specializes in locating talent in the High Tech and Green Energy sectors. Recruiting since 1996, the company offers nationwide coverage and boasts offices in Silicon Valley, the East Coast, and the Intermountain West.

As a full service, outsourced recruiting resource, we will partner with leading High Tech and Clean Tech organizations to source the world’s next generation of technical and alternative energy leaders.

Connect with Redfish Technology on the web http://www.redfishtech.com/job_seekers/job_seekers.php

 

The Job Search Recipe In A Zero Job Growth Market

With the dismal announcement of Zero Job Growth flooding the internet from sources as Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN Money, The Huffington Post, and numerous other highly regarded informational channels, how does a job seeker keep a positive attitude?

When I began writing this article, I admit, I was a little hungry. It reminded me of how similar planning a meal is to looking for a job in a tight market.

Basic Recipe: One practical job search tip in keeping motivated is to plan out your 8-5 day by creating a weekly calendar of “to do” activities. One might call these activities your grocery list. Include the fundamental time for job-board searches, direct marketing and research. Keep a grocery list of your weekly activities and check them off when completed to boost your sense of accomplishment.

Flavor: Then add a little flavor by staying current in your industry. Schedule and attend a couple of community network meetings every week, such as Chamber of Commerce, or an industry related gathering.

Spice: Kick it up with scheduled network time. 65-75% of your calendar should be planned with this vital ingredient. Although the internet has made this chore so much easier with online social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and etc.), nothing surpasses face-to-face time.

Sweetener: Schedule an hour or two during your week to give back. Volunteer to assist with a local charity group. Get involved. Besides this activity being a great internal network with a broad array of board members (who are Key Decision Makers in the corporate world), it is a great way to stimulate the juices of once again being needed, and furnish you with the warm fuzzy to stay motivated.

Bam: Take advantage of being home. Put away the job search and spend time with the family in the evenings and weekends. Plan interactive time such as board games, helping with homework, going to the park, and visiting the neighbors. Savor the moments. This is special time that makes it all worthwhile.

Smell the Aroma: As the above ingredients are simmering, use your nose to sniff out current news articles relevant to your industry and locate businesses that are experiencing changes. This is your key to investigate a possible niche for you to do a little direct target marketing.

Taste: A good cook needs to be able to taste the brew. The same goes for a good job searcher needing to develop an understanding of what flavors and spices are working best. Follow up on your activities with phone calls and schedule one-on-one meetings with Key Decision Makers.

Rather than throwing in the apron, or moping around in your bathrobe, shake up your routine recipe. Stir the above mixture until it sizzles to find your right motivational flavor! Stay hopeful, after all, a Zero Job Growth Market is slightly better than a Negative Market!

We would enjoy hearing from you. Please share your “recipe” with our readers on tips of how you have stayed positive in this down economy. http://jobinterview-practice.com/

Boomer Job Search

If you haven’t looked for a job recently, things could get a little scary. Gone are the days poring over the Situations Vacant section of the daily newspaper, identifying possibilities and sending or phoning in your application. Things have changed and so have the rules of engagement for finding and securing jobs. Many of these changes are the direct result of technological advancements, in particular the increasing influence of the internet – you can’t get away from it and love it or not it’s here to stay. Although the principal for job hunting is the same – finding a vacancy and applying for it, the internet has revolutionised and streamlined the whole employment process.

 

I bet at times, many of us post 50 year olds wish we had taken typing (keyboard skills) at school and apart from the “technical” challenges of manoeuvring round the internet to upload, download and just find and organise information, the concept of social networking is a whole new ball game. We baby boomers were not socialized to announce life events and have our privacy exposed to all and sundry – it’s a bit of a culture shock and one that I am sure many of us are reluctant to become part of.

But social networking sites are not just about connecting with friends and other like-minded people or catching up on the latest gossip. They are a genuine opportunity for you to put yourself out there and (perhaps unknowingly) in front of potential employers. Facebook and Twitter have grown significantly in size and importance and LinkedIn, while not as popular, is probably the best in terms of job hunting and making effective business connections.

Online job sites have pretty much done away with newspaper advertising and while most focus on general job listings catering to a wide audience, there are many niche sites designed to attract specialised audiences. Most allow or more likely require you to upload your resume and apply for positions online. Resumes in turn, have gone through a face-lift. Generic forms are no longer relevant and have been deposed by the need for customised documents that are specific to the job in question. A contemporary resume should also focus on quantifiable achievements and how these may increase an employer’s sales and revenue. One of the more recent changes is the need to include the appropriate keywords in a resume to ensure it even gets considered.

This year the first baby boomers hit retirement age. The majority however have no intention of ceasing their work life and see themselves continuing to work for many years to come. The needs of this group however are quite unique, necessitating a specialized approach at all stages of the employment process. The niche job site http://www.greymatters.co.nz is designed to accommodate the mature worker and provide resources and support useful in their job search.

 

Job Hunting on the Sly – Finding a Way Out of That Dead-End Job

Despite what you tell your colleagues, you’ve looked online for work while at work. It doesn’t matter if you say it’s only happened during your lunch break, sure thing, or you admit to taking an entire morning to peruse the job market. Everyone has killed some time looking for that dream job, while your current one takes a back seat. No one is here to judge you. Instead, why not find some ways to make your job hunt easier? After all it’s your life and if you find a way to make it better, why not leap at that chance?

If you’ve ever looked for a job while at work, it’s probably not the smartest move you can make. You don’t have to be an Einsteinian genius to know that looking for work while on the job is a bad move. But, people do it a lot and employers are not oblivious to it. The key is being able to look for a job and keep it on the down low. You don’t want some work place colleague to go back and spill the beans to HR or your boss.

What are some things you can do to continue your job hunting without getting the hook from your boss?

Maintaining productivity

One of the earliest signs of a distracted employee is loss of productivity. Excessive job hunting on the clock can kill productivity and make managers look for replacements before you’ve even found your new job. Managers can monitor computer habits so make sure that your job search stays within an appropriate amount of time. You don’t want to get fired and your work computer is one hundred percent the property of your employer, so be careful when looking for another gig.

Examining repercussions

Even if you do your search at home, make sure you’re using your personal computer. If you use a work related computer, there could be active monitoring software installed, which is completely up to the company. Make sure that nothing you do can be traced back to you. And always remember that US companies have the right to fire an employee for any reason. If they are not just, then why should you be? There are plenty of opportunities out there and all it takes is you applying yourself to get them.

When is it appropriate?

Even if you’re browsing out of casual curiosity, it can send the message that you’re ready to leave your current job. About the only time it is acceptable to look for work while at work is in the event that you have all ready been terminated and you need the time to look for another job. Employees can spend some time job hunting if they’ve already received a notice saying they will be laid off, just don’t abuse the situation. Know the laws in your state and always have a way to fight your employer.

Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW, BS/HR, is a Certified Professional & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant and President of Professional Resume Services, Inc. She is a nationally published writer and contributor of 9+ best-selling career books. She has achieved international recognition following yearly nominations of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award. Erin has written thousands of resumes for executives and professionals.

As a proud member of PARW, CDI, AORCP, Erin also sits on CDI’s Credentialing Committee for new certification candidates and serves as a Mentor for CDI’s Member Mentoring Committee. She also is a featured blogger on several well-known career sites. Reuse of this article is encouraged but must include a link to http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com. Want to know more about Erin Kennedy, CPRW? Read her LinkedIn profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/erinkennedycprw

 

Baby Boomers – 5 Chief Principles To Ensure A Successful Mid-Life Career Change

Increasingly, people are being forced to change career due to business closures and layoffs resulting from the economic downturn. Those few who have been proactive will have anticipated the challenges and obstacles associated with a mid-life change and stand a good chance of succeeding in this endeavor. For those of us who were bounced into it, the obstacles can be numerous and formidable. Age and knowledge are very often the biggest barriers to success but the other side of the coin says that we are at the peak of our powers in our forties. This is a prime time to take control of the direction we want our career to take. If you apply these five chief principles to ensure a successful mid-life career change you should be able to make very rewarding career moves.

Vision Statement

Your reasons for changing career in mid-life must be compelling and you will have a picture in your mind of what you want the outcome to be. If you want to change your reality from the one you have right now, you need a clear picture in your mind and written on paper, of what you want that reality to be. Your vision must come before your strategy. Put your vision in place and your strategy will fall into place.

Financial Plan

Putting together a financial plan may not get your entrepreneurial juices flowing. If you are going to change career, your flow of cash is likely to change but your expenses may very well stay the same. You need to be very detailed in your preparation making allowance for every possible demand on your cash. This will give you a good picture of where your money is coming from and where it is going to while enabling you to plan to have enough at all times and not run short.

Presentation

By the time you reach this stage, you will want to be inspired so that your enthusiasm becomes infectious and carries the day. It is important to document your history and experience thoroughly but your vision and passion for your project must come across and it must be infectious and irresistible. Your presentation must be benefit laden and put the spotlight on how your client or prospect will be better off as a result.

Communicate Strategically

Your enthusiasm for your career move will have got you thinking about who you’ll need to collaborate with, whose participation will be required and how you plan to reach them. Will you use trade associations, business networks, conventional of digital marketing?

Take the Plunge

Commit to taking the plunge whether you set a date for handing in your resignation or a date by which you will be in your new place of work. Have a reward system for reaching milestones and let others know how you are getting on. Keep your professional network informed of your progress.

Andrew G. Boyd is article writer and affiliate of the internet Marketing Mentoring and Coaching Centre (iMMACC) and works from home.

Click on this link to find out more about how to make great money by using the most cutting edge internet marketing strategies and tactics on the internet today, just click on http://www.andrewgboyd.com.

Andrew is also a real estate broker of overseas commercial real estate syndicates specialising in lead country, (Germany), high yield (7% +) objects for pension investors and cash depositors. To find out more about the investments that Andrew has currently available, please click on http://www.youngfieldsocp.com.

How Has Job Hunting Changed in the Last Ten Years?

The Internet has changed a lot about our world in the last ten years, including how we look for jobs. The basics may be the same: the old finding an opening and applying for it, but the internet has completely revolutionized the employment process. With more than 9% unemployed, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people are going to be using every single tool at their disposal to find their next employment opportunity.

Networking has been the traditional way to find a job, but over the last ten years this has changed to social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These sites are now the second-most effective tool in your job-hunting arsenal, according to job placement firms. Searching for jobs at trade fairs or by looking through newspaper classifieds has long been replaced by the internet. It’s not about the old school anymore, today’s job seekers have to be on the web to find a job.

Social networking sites have exploded with popularity, people look to connect with old friends, loved ones and business partners alike, so there is always opportunity to meet someone with a job offer online. Facebook has over 500 million users worldwide, Twitter’s traffic has increased exponentially in the last year and LinkedIn, despite not being as robust as the other social media options, is perhaps the most useful of any social networking site when it comes to actual job hunting. LinkedIn’s traffic has nearly doubled in the past year, thanks to its usefulness as an employer posting site and networking capabilities. You all know how I feel about LinkedIn.

Employment posting sites have been popular over the last decade as well. There are a lot of options out there for these sites and many are household names. Job posters look for these sites because they know prospective employees are going to frequent them in hopes of finding something. These sites experienced great growth early in the decade but social media sites and other factors have contributed to a loss of traffic.

One of the factors in the decline of job posting sites has been the boom of Craigslist. Craigslist is a privately held company that specializes in free internet postings. It’s basically like an online classified section for the internet, users can post jobs or even garage sales. Much of Craigslist’s earnings come from job postings, Craigslist’s success has meant tough times for the newspaper industry. Total revenue from classified listings for newspapers has fallen by as much as 42.5% in 2008 to just $2.2 billion, which makes it the worst drop in the history of the industry.

The internet is definitely where people look for jobs, but the ease at which prospective employees can send out resumes has made it tough for HR managers. They have to sift through a huge pile of resumes to find the right candidate and with jobs scarce at the moment, it can be hard to get through the clutter. People who rely on one method for their job search will find it much more difficult to find employment than others.

Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW, BS/HR, is a Certified Professional & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant and President of Professional Resume Services, Inc. She is a nationally published writer and contributor of 9+ best-selling career books. She has achieved international recognition following yearly nominations of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award. Erin has written thousands of resumes for executives and professionals.

As a proud member of PARW, CDI, AORCP, Erin also sits on CDI’s Credentialing Committee for new certification candidates and serves as a Mentor for CDI’s Member Mentoring Committee. She also is a featured blogger on several well-known career sites. Reuse of this article is encouraged but must include a link to http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com. Want to know more about Erin Kennedy, CPRW? Read her LinkedIn profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/erinkennedycprw

Guerilla Job Hunting – Give Yourself an Edge and Get the Job

Have a plan

A job search is about marketing yourself and, just like any other marketer, you need a marketing plan that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. In order to build a plan, you must first determine your goal-What sort of job do you want? I know, you are tempted to say, any job that pays. But, think of it this way. Just like a marketer will pick a target audience in order to refine and deliver a message with the most impact, you will gain an advantage over the competition by creating a resume and an interview strategy that specifically targets your ideal job. On top of that, by targeting your dream job, you may prevent going through this whole process again in a few months. Now, realistically, finances may dictate that you take whatever you can find most quickly for now. But don’t give up there. If you have to take a job that is less than what you really want, look for something that will allow you to continue your search until you find what you’re looking for.

Then, examine your strengths and weaknesses. What makes you uniquely qualified for the position you want and where do your skills need some work? Your strengths are your selling points and you should be prepared to set employers at ease when they ask about your weaknesses by showing how you have successfully overcome them in the past and what steps you have taken to correct or minimize them.

Your plan should include measurable outcomes that you can control. For example, how many calls will you make a week? What steps will you take to strengthen your network? How many resumes will you send out? Do you have a cover letter that you can use a template and customize easily to fit each position that you apply for?

Prepare for your search

There are all kind of resources out there to help you get ready for your job search. Your local library can recommend good books to help you and you can search for resources online. There are five critical components of your job search: your resume, your cover letter, your interview skills, and your follow up/thank you letter. So, stay in touch with your contacts, make sure that your written communications are up to snuff and practice interviewing. Be ready for the behavioural interviews that are so popular today. Do an internet search for job interview questions, think about what you would ask if you were the hiring manager and be prepared with great answers.

Keep Track

Track every part of your job search. I like to keep an Excel spreadsheet with the dates that applications or resumes were submitted, follow up dates, and offers received. If you track your job search, you will know when it is time to follow up with a potential employer and can get a feel for what is working and what is not. For example, if you send out a lot of applications but get no interviews, you will want to work on your cover letters and resumes. If you get interviews, but no offers, brush up on your interviewing skills.

Follow up

Use your tracking system to help you keep in touch with potential employers. Stand out from the crowd by taking the time to follow up on your application a week or two after it is submitted. Send a follow up letter to each person that interviews you to thank them for their time, express your interest in the job, and comment on some aspect of your conversation.

Dig Deeper

One technique for effectively answering behaviorally based interview questions is the SMART technique http://soar.swiftlysoar.com/2010/09/07/ace-the-behavioral-job-interview-using-soars-smart-technique.aspx. Following the guidelines in this article may help you avoid awkward follow up questions by the interviewer.

Want a Job? Ignore These Outdating Job Hunting Beliefs

Despite a wealth of great job-hunting advice, many prospective job seekers are still clinging to outdated job-hunting and resume writing guidelines that hinder their search for a job. If you’ve been sending your same old resume from 10 years ago with a “Dear Sir or Madam”, then you’ve probably learned that these methods have become obsolete.

If any of the following job hunting problems match you, then you need to implement corrective measures as soon as possible if you want to achieve success in 2011:

1. Not studying your competition

Candidates fail to check out their competition when they start their job search. They reason that their generalized resume worked in the past and that it will continue to work in the future, but that just is not the case any longer. You resume will be stacked against incredibly high skilled competition who probably have seen and done things that you present as standout attributes on your resume.

If you have a diverse set of skills, you’ll need to go the extra mile to get into your chosen career. You’ll need to establish connections and contacts with people in the industry to help fill in any career gaps you have and to boost your education and work experience. And you’ll need a compelling resume that clearly develops a connection to your prospective employer.

2. Not caring about your online identity

Social media is the way of the world now, and like it or not, it’s not going anywhere and people pay a lot of attention to it. Who do you think an employer is going to choose, the guy with the drunken Facebook profile picture or the business professional LinkedIn page? 10 years ago no one thought about having themselves Googled, no one really even knew what Google was but now you have to have an online profile to get noticed. You have to make yourself an online brand and highlight yourself above the pack.

3. Disregarding trends in resumes

If you can’t get past the old resume template with your list of qualifications, then you are going to find the job market in 2011 to be very harsh. Companies receive hundreds of resumes a day, so it becomes critical for potential employees to document the impact of their work and to back up their accomplishments through quantitative means. For a business to hire you they want to make sure that you are going to positively impact their business, and that means on the bottom line, are you going to make their business more profitable.

You have to have something on your resume that shows how you have positively impacted growth in one way or another. For executives or senior-level employees, personal branding has become the newest trend in the job hunt. This is a delicate process and you will need someone who understands developing a branded persona. You have to become the expert in your field.

Hopefully these tips will help you get past anything that was holding you back and put you on the road to new employment!

Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW, BS/HR, is a Certified Professional & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant and President of Professional Resume Services, Inc. She is a nationally published writer and contributor of 9+ best-selling career books. She has achieved international recognition following yearly nominations of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award. Erin has written thousands of resumes for executives and professionals. As a proud member of PARW, CDI, AORCP, Erin also sits on CDI’s Credentialing Committee for new certification candidates and serves as a Mentor for CDI’s Member Mentoring Committee. She also is a featured blogger on several well-known career sites. Reuse of this article is encouraged but must include a link to http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com.

Best Practices for Identifying Excellent References for Your Job Search

Are Your References Available on Request? Best Practices for Identifying Excellent References

If you’ve had your resume prepared professionally by a reputable resume writing service, you’re probably preparing for the interview for a job you truly want. Congratulations! Make sure that your interview kit is ready to go with a properly fashioned reference sheet.

First, Do Not Waste Valuable Resume Real Estate

You have about two pages of resume real estate to convey your superior qualifications. Don’t waste that space with a comment that your references are available on request. The interviewer knows that, human resources knows that, and you know that. Instead, take the time to provide more details about your amazing accomplishments, expertise, knowledge, skills, certifications-anything but the trite “references available upon request.” Instead, make sure that you have prepared for your interview and brought with you all the items you will need to make it a success, such as extra copies of your resume-and a properly formatted reference sheet ready to go.

Your Interview Kit Includes a Prepared Reference Sheet

When you get the call for the interview, you need to source several references whom you know will provide prospective hiring managers with a glowing review of your competencies. You can choose to ask former managers, who will know your strengths first hand. But don’t neglect other potential reference opportunities, such as customers, colleagues, and, if you’re a recent graduate, professors who directed your studies. Each of these can serve as excellent sources of positive comments that will enhance your presentation in your job search.

Ask Your References Ahead of Time

It’s critical that you call your prospective references ahead of your interview to request the use of their contact information.

First, you want to be sure that the person is available to serve as your reference. In other words, you want to make sure that the person will agree she or he has only good things to say about your experience and performance.

Second, you want to prepare the references for the types of questions they can expect from your prospective hiring manager. Tell the references about your potential job, and emphasize to them the skills you would like them to emphasize. It will help these people, who might not have worked with you for some time, to know what will likely impress the hiring manager.

Last, nobody wants to have a call for a reference check sprung on them unannounced. An unannounced call will catch them unprepared to say the most important, positive, and helpful things about you-and might actually annoy them to the point that they don’t want to say anything about you at all.

Visit OlympusResumes.com to get your reference worksheet–it’s a critical part of your job search package.

I’m Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW, Career Search Strategist. Visit me at http://olympusresumes.com/about-us/ to learn how you can propel your job search with a resume package that gets interviews without breaking the bank.