Are you a Mid-to-Senior Level Professional working in the "Tech Sector" trying to find a new job, but need to "fly under the radar" so your employer doesn't find out? Are you trying to avoid publicizing your resume for fear of being over-whelmed by the countless amount of emails and calls from recruiters trying to talk you into a opening that doesn't fit? If you answered yes to one or both of those questions then I may have a solution for you!
The strategies I'm proposing are proven effective for individuals wanting to conduct a highly confidential job search to try and move in-between or upward into a technical or managerial position where discretion is important. The strategies I'm specifically referring to is Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc...). I understand most people know how to use these tools already, but I can assure you there is an incredible amount of things these tools can do for your job search that you can't even begin to imagine! Take it from someone who over the last couple years has dedicated themselves to really understanding how to use Social Media for my job. The only boundary Social Media has is the limits of your creativity!
Why is a Job Search Different for Technology Professionals Then Other Professions?
So there are a couple of reasons I really wanted to focuse this blog on professionals working in the Tech Industry. For one, I have spent the majority of my professional work life recruiting, evaluating and hiring Information Technology skill sets so I have a very good understanding of the importance that their abilities and talents directly have on an organization. Therefore I have some specific job search strategies that someone working in technology can leverage to best market themselves. The second and most important reason I wanted to reach out specifically to technology people and folks in management is that their search is very specific and focused, thus making it different and in most cases more difficult.
Believe it or not conducting a search when you are employed is far more difficult than when you are a "free agent" or in between jobs. The reason is when you are employed in most instances, you don't want your current employer to know you are looking. This means you don't have the ability to advertise out to the "free world" that you are looking for a new job for fear of consequences you could face if your employer finds out. The second problem with looking for a job when you are working is the lack of flexibility to interview. In fact having initial conversations with potential employers to do initial inquires are even difficult during business hours when you are working.
Due to the nature of work and the level of difficulties that technical professionals possess make them attractive to many potential employers out there. The training IT people have to endure is intense and very expensive, so if an employer can hire someone who already owns those skills without having to pay for it makes that person attractive to a company. With that said technical people have many opportunities which on the surface sounds great, but if you dig deeper this could be a negative because a lot of these opportunities may not be a good fit at all. For any of us who have taken the wrong job, that could prove to be a disaster. Hence this is a great transition to the main focus of my article, how to leverage Social Media to conduct a confidential job search.
CREATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND USING SOCIAL MEDIA
Earlier in this article I teased you mentioning the amazing things Social Media can do for your job search, especially when you are trying to "fly under the radar". Social Media really is an incredible gift technology has given us, you can be anywhere in the world and at the touch of your fingertips communicate anything you want and access any information you want. Best of all its free!!!
One thing to keep in mind is that freedom comes with a price. Just as you have the ability to communicate anything you want and research anything you want at the the touch of your finger tips, everyone else also has that power. That is why the first thing you need to do which is what I consider to be the most critical when getting onto Social Media, establish credibility!! You not only want people to take you serious from a professional perspective, but you want them to believe that you have some level of expertise in at least one if not many subject areas. If you can't do this, then there is no amount of technology that will help your job search. The best way to accomplish this is to develop a strong professional brand for yourself that will create "buzz".
When I talk about "buzz" I'm referring to things about your professional background that will make people "stand up and take notice" wanting to know more about you. The way to do that is through your special milestones you have accomplished on the job. As a recruiter one of my "pet peeves" is to see someone take the time to put a profile on Linkedin or Twitter, especially Linkedin and just list your jobs you worked at with maybe a short bullet list of your daily task; "BORING". Being someone in the profession hiring for my job openings, I use social media a lot to find people. If someone doesn't excite me with how they made a difference at their organizations and what they accomplished, I will not give them a 2nd look let alone reach out to them to learn more.
First step, take a note book or type somewhere on your computer where you can make a list of neat things you accomplished job by job. Speak about special projects you were involved with, the role you took on those projects and how they made your department or company better for this accomplishment. Another key thing to cover for technology people is talk about the technology you used and relate it to how it served the business purposes. Some examples might be (task you did to reduce cost/increase revenue/processes you implemented to drive better efficiency). These functions "scream" you are a potentially valuable employee to a future employer.
Target your Search Through Research
Now that your professional branding is created and you have some credibility behind you which will drive people to your profile through key word searches, this is where your search on social media begins. That beginning starts with you identifying organizations that you want to work for. You are working and you have skills that are attractive to many employers, so I beg of you please be selective of where you choose to work for your next place of employment. Take it from someone who has made this mistake in the past, you are better to be mildly miserable at your current employer then to take a risk going to a new company and taking on a role you are not 100% sure is the right move.
What I mean by that is you have built up credibility and tenure at your current company, if you give that up for a new job you are unsure about and it turns out bad that could be a very nasty situation. At least with your current job you should have some flexibility since you have proven your credibility. At a new job you have to prove yourself all over again meaning lack of flexibility to look for a new job if things turn "sour". Now that I have your attention, this is where you want to take your time and figure out the best company to make your next move to. You want to take into account factors that are important to you such as industry preference, company size, initiatives they are involved with that might match up with things you want to do in your career and most important, their reputation with their customers and how they treat employees. Luckily with Social Media which again I stress is free, this information is very easy to obtain and the accuracy of the information is very easy to confirm.
The two tools I think you get the most "bang for your buck" meaning allocation of your time is LinkedIn and Glass Door. First LinkedIn, you can search company profiles and employee profiles to see all company history and the backgrounds of key personnel who run that organization. This is where you can get a first glance to see if the projects they are working on match your skills and things you want to do. Also you look to see if the backgrounds of the people working their share common backgrounds and interest to you. This is the first and most important indicator if this is a possible organization that is right for you. I also mentioned a tool called Glass Door, this is basically Yelp for Companies. Employees can go to Glass Door on strictly a confidential basis and post their true experiences and feelings about working at a company without fear of having their identity discovered. This is where you can learn about specific examples of how a company treats their employees and sure you have to take this information with a "grain of salt", but I have found it to be very accurate especially if comments are in a majority fashion sway one way or the other. If you have 10 people within a year or so time frame saying negative or positive comments about a company and they have worked in various areas of the organization, its safe to say that is probably a trend you will find to be true.
"Let the Networking Begin"
Ok, you have completed your thorough preparation of short listing some organizations you want to work at that match your values. You have also created a very attractive profile so those companies can gain an awareness of you and see if you match what they look for in an employee. Now you are ready to take the plunge and let those companies know you are interested, "let the networking begin".
Networking, this is where a lot of job seekers make their biggest mistakes. Most people think networking is connecting with others to ask for a job directly. True networking is more passive and less aggressive and is one of those situations where "less is more". Yes you do want to reach out and connect with people who share your same skills or work for a company you are looking to possibly work at, but it is for information purposes only with advertising yourself through intelligent questions is a "byproduct". Reaching out to others should be for the purpose of learning what they like about the company, initiatives they are working on that they enjoy, things they feel the company could improve on and last advice seeking.
People are more likely to answer your invitation and be open to speaking with you if you let them know you are seeking their advice or want to do information sharing. It is ok to say once you have established some credibility with the people you are reaching out to "look I'm looking to potentially make a move from my organization but I want to seek your advice on some places that you feel would be best for me to perform certain types of work". "I notice you are doing some similar things to what I have done, what do you like about your organization". This tactic will get you much further with people because all you are asking them for is information as opposed to a job. Also they gain respect for you because you are coming off as someone who is thought provoking and very serious about a job change as vs. someone just desperate to find a job.
Another way to get yourself known as an expert in your field is joining professional groups in LinkedIn and Meetup in your areas of expertise and post useful information and questions. This is a great way to get yourself known in the industry and advertise your knowledge.
As both a professional in Talent Acquisition and someone who went to College and took many years to pay back my loans, Adam Carroll's movie documentary "Broke Busted & Disgusted" https://www.brokebusteddisgusted.com/the-film/ really moved me! Mr. Carroll is the CEO of National Financial Educators. My take on his documentary, is that in NO Way is he discouraging Young Adults from going to College after High School. However he does intend to communicate a clear message, that before jumping in and accepting the responsibility for the Financial Burden of College, High School Kids need to be strategic and smart!
This means NO More can future College Students afford to just go to College thinking they will figure out their future along the way. My suggestion and I wish I did this for myself back then, was to take High School Senior year to explore career options. Whether that is doing informational interviews, or even doing a non-paid internship if it means getting a real taste at what a potential career would encompass. If that is not possible, maybe consider delaying college for 1-2 years to do some exploring. My message is when you decide to jump in and take the financial responsibility, make sure you make the most of every moment to make it a valuable investment!
With that said, I don't want you to think I'm putting all the responsibility for this on the students, because I'm not! The Universities as well need to take some responsibility for the problem that Mr. Carroll points out. These students are customers of the Universities so if they are taking money for services they are providing, that comes with obligations to make sure the students are getting maximum value for what they are paying for!
So what is the responsibility of colleges and universities to students after graduation ? Do they have any ? Are the schools there to meet their own needs of tuition, over the needs of students to transition into the profession they majored in ?
I want to try to answer this.
I am a Technology Recruiter, and for the most part I place Senior Level Executives in Technology Firms. Recently I have received many requests from Millennials that are college graduates frustrated and needing help because they can't find work in a program they just paid $100,000 or more for. In each situation they are struggling to support themselves forced to take a combination of 2 or more part time jobs just to pay the bills . I try to do my part to help because I truly feel for these individuals so I outsource these requests to professionals that work with millennials in finding entry level positions. The question I have is why does this problem exist and what could be done about it ?
I was without an answer on this . After that I was told about the documentary of Broke Busted & Disgusted www.brokebusted&disgusted.com The title is what most college graduates feel after the party of college is done with . They are broke because they have a student loan that they could not pay back. They are busted with the economic situation they are in, feeling as if they have nothing . They are disgusted, that means they have a feeling of dislike to the schools after they played the game as they were told .
As I was watching Broke Busted & Disgusted, the schools are in on encouraging students to take out these loans. As the students naively think that employment after college is going to allow for the means to payback the loans. In most situations this is not reality.
When i talk to recent college graduates, In each situation I was told the schools do not want to hear from them and that the schools resources is for current students. What they are saying pick a major, take general education classes, pay your tuition, books, supplies and fees and that is it. If you should switch your major, you must take more classes and increasing the expense even more! Some majors do not have a high percentage of placement success for a rewarding career after graduation. This means some college administrators are encouraging students to take classes that have minimal to no value in the professional business world .
What I hear from employers is that recent college graduates generally do not have the skills to qualify themselves in the workplace. This is where talent is overlooked . What is it that students are learning besides what they are being tested on ? This is not what they signed up and paid for.
Is the solution that college is only for those that have the means ? I think not. Should tuition not be so high ? I think so.
A solution I have is that all students need to find a Professional Mentor. This person should not be connected with the school, since most professionals that are employed at schools have not worked in the business world for sometime. The people working on behalf of the Universities who are giving guidance to the students really mean well and they do try. The problem is there are not enough resources to go around, as well as lacking the insights on what the new trends are like out in the Business World. My solution is, if the Counselors really want to do justice on the students behalf they could put their efforts to designing Mentor Programs to help find and coordinate efforts to set students up with Mentors from various Industries. This program needs to start as early as Freshman Year, so that while students are taking prerequisites they can be learning about different career options. This way when Junior Year comes, they are armed with some very updated and credible information to help them make an informed decision when they have to declare a major.
I want to make this clear I am not Anti-education. I am just suggesting there must be some way to fix and work with the system to do the proper "justice" for Graduates and Alumni.
Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant
So I had the great opportunity and honor to hear James Kane (http://jameskane.com/) who is a world recognized speaker and author in the area of building relationships in business, speak at a conference. I have heard many speakers in my time, but James is the best I've seen thus far!! What made his presentation so special and powerful to me is the way he was able synchronize and demonstrate how Business, Neuroscience and Behavorial Psychology can work together to create a powerful sales strategy. This can be used in literally any business model. He tied it around the power of one word;"loyalty". James Kane is an expert on how to create such a strong loyalty in your brand and if you ever get a chance to hear him speak or expose yourself to what he writes, you are in for a treat!
Without going into a long discussion about the conference, I want to share one unique idea around loyalty that he mentioned. Kane's idea that to win customer loyalty is not accomplished by fulfilling the expectation of delivering the product or service the customer pays for, but in creating an incredible experience. What he was referring to was the process of getting them there that customers will always come back to you for and brag about you to others. The idea is get to know as much about your customers not only on a professional manner, but personal as well. That knowledge will allow you to connect to your customers in such meaningful ways that you can create an "incredible experience" in how you deliver your service.
So enough about James Kane, I hope even though I didn't meet him personally he will appreciate my promotion of him some day!! This entire discussion about loyalty started me thinking on how this could be leveraged on a job interview. If you think about it, an employer pays you to deliver the task you are hired for. We think as society in a whole, that if we complete the job we are paid to do it makes us special and we deserve rewards for that. Folks we need to change our thinking on that, your reward is the money the employer pays you to get the job done. Your reward is the privilege of getting the opportunity to continue to stay their and do your job so you can continue to get paid. Now if you are wanting recognition and real rewards, then ladies and gentlemen you have to focus on the way you do your job and creating a pleasurable experience for your boss by doing it in a special and prideful way!!
Some examples may be: taking initiative to do things above and beyond when you see an opportunity without having to be asked. Also when identifying problems to your boss, make sure you pair that with some possible solutions you came up with OR figuring out a way to take as much responsibility off your boss allowing them to do other things. Folks what you want to demonstrate is not just how effective you are at doing your job, but how you created an incredible experience for your boss in the process of doing the job. If this was the focus of your interview strategy, this would put you "in the conversation" as top candidate for every job you interview for!!
Think about it, as Human Beings loyalty is one of the things we can never get enough of!!
By Steve Rosen
Sr. Recruiter/Certified Interview Coach
In one of my other Linkedin Articles, I wrote about effective messaging and the importance of trying to find something in common with the person you are trying to elicit response from. One of the stronger bonds to find in common with a stranger is being a fellow College Alumni! Linkedin's Alumni Tool is one of their most underused and I believe underrated tools that are tied to the Linkedin platform!
'Aine Cane, Reporter on the Careers Section for Business Insider writes a nice short piece on this (http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-use-linkedin-alumni-tool-2017-1). I recommend taking a look at if time permits, it's well written! 'Aine's perspective is for job seekers and how this can be incredibly valuable to make potential job connections with members of their school alumni. However, for my piece I'm going to take a different perspective. I want to share some valuable strategies on how the Small Business and Entrepreneurial Community can also utilize Linkedin Alumni for their advantage.
The search functionality works very similar to the main page, however in my opinion the layout and functionality of this page is set up much more clean and user friendly! In the top right corner is a drop down to choose your University then directly below that are 3 drop down categories giving you options for graduated/attended, start year and end year. If you go down a little more, the tool allows you to design your search as granular as you like. It allows you to sort your alumni by three areas (where they live, where they work and what they do). As you can see from a business perspective, this can be incredibly invaluable in helping you construct a list of potential customers that attended the same University as you. More important, the Alumni Tool provides you with endless information about your fellow alumni! This is critical when designing a strategy to approach these people for potential business opportunities. This is where I will spend the remainder of the article covering.
For anyone selling a product or service, I think Linked did an amazing job designing this product that can compete with any paid marketing list out there, best of all its free! Depending on your product or service, this tool can narrow down your demographic searches pretty thoroughly with the flexibility to do it anyway you want. This will help you design a unique and powerful message geared toward that specific demographics' interest. Of course the secret weapon with the message is you can lead in with the commonality of attending the same school. Let me present an example to really illustrate how this can be powerful!
Example: Let's say you designed a product for coffee drinkers who wanted to make their own fresh cold brew coffee out of the convenience of their own home. You can use the tool to narrow down a few different demographic categories based on their age, region they live in and what they do for a living to connect with them through a message that you know will pique their interest. So for example if you want to find people in your age category that you might of graduated with. An effective strategy might be to establish the relationship of "we went to school together and graduated together, I would love to catch up to see where you are at now and what you are doing after graduation". That approach is harmless and will usually elicit a response back. Once connected and the relationship is established or re-established, introducing your product in a non-threatening manner will be easy.
To my Small Business Capitalist and Entrepreneurial audience, to be honest with you I think this the most valuable tool I can introduce to you in helping you build your business! Stay tuned for more tips in future articles.
Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant
Now take what I’m saying with a “grain of salt” because I always try to see the opportunity in every situation! What the government workers are going through in not getting paid due to the shutdown is awful, however could it be turned into an opportunity?
There is a large gap in the market place for U.S homegrown technology workers at all levels. The unemployment rate is at near record level lows of under 4%, forcing businesses big and small to go overseas to import talent and even outsource projects. Organizations are quickly discovering that these solutions are expensive, problematic and causing long-term issues. To thrive businesses need to invest in organically growing their technical talent. Unfortunately, there are various reasons such as high “barriers of entry” among others, creating a lack of interest in the U.S workforce to train for these type of careers.
Thanks to organizations such as Suncoast Developers Guild (SDG) out of St. Petersburg, Florida https://suncoast.io/ investments in growing technical workers on U.S. soil has become a priority. Organizations like SDG, which was started by Jason Perry https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonlperry/, are beginning to pop up all over the country. These are organizations built by people who have a passion not only for technology but to help others succeed in this field as a career.
SDG is set up as an alternative to a standard educational setting for people who want to pursue a career in technology. Students come from diverse backgrounds and educational experience. Whether they are getting a jump start directly after high school, starting their desired career after college, or marking a career change, they have the opportunity to do so without racking up the expenses of a four-year university. Programs such as SDG can take what would be 1-2 year investment of the students time and condense it helping get them job ready. In non-profit organizations, such as SDG, the tuition to attend the program is invested back into the programs to constantly improve on the experience.
So now getting back to the government workers who are being directly affected by this shutdown, maybe this is the “universe” telling you now is a great time to consider a career change! There are programs out there to help subsidize this investment. At very least it’s something to consider because if this shutdown happened once what is the guarantee it wouldn’t happen again? Do you genuinely want someone else controlling your career?
Steve Rosen-Career Consultant
Video Resumes are a great way to get a job applicant's "foot in the door" for any type of job, but especially for Critical Roles to a Company such as Sales, Technology, Leadership, HR and Marketing! What a 3 minute clip can accomplish highlighting a Candidate's background in a very vivid and visual way to an employer far outweighs a multiple page Written Resume.
If you really want to create it but don't know where to start, no problem! I will highlight in a few easy steps the way to construct this for anyone. Best thing about it, with the powerful video capabilities of our smart phones it won't even require you hiring a Professional Video Person unless you want to.
LETS GET STARTED!
1) "Dress For Success"-You want to simulate an Interview Experience. That means dress professional just like you would for an interview and film it in a quiet and office type setting in your home to keep it professional looking.
2) Keep it to 3-4 minutes long NO LONGER. In fact I would keep it closer to 3 minutes because you want your audience's attention span as much as possible through the entire thing.
3) Contents to include:
-60 Second Elevator Pitch summing up your professional background with a couple of unique "tidbits" about yourself which will grab your audience's attention. It's ok to include personal information about yourself as long as you make sure to use Professional Etiquette when doing it. HINT: Those personal items can be tied to what drove the passion for you to work in the professional field you want to work in.
-Talk about your passion for the role you want to get into such as why you are passionate about it and what excites you. This is different than the Field mentioned above as now you are talking about a specific role.
-Discuss briefly your career progression that got you to this point in your career.
-Discuss briefly 1-2 projects in a quick summary that were career accomplishments.
-Discuss what you brought to the table to your past employers in a similar role and how that will make you an immediate value to your next employer.
-Last, give a quick couple of action points on what you would do in your first 30 days if you were hired to set yourself up for success. Employers love to hire people that are proactive and show they have a planned vision for success.
If this format is followed, this will give anyone a great start to creating a successful Video Resume with the end result of attracting a Hiring Manager's attention so they call you in for the "real interview"!
In conclusion, my last piece of advice is this. Rehearse a couple times before shooting your final video, and play it back to see what it looks like. Great thing about video is you can shoot it over and over until you get it exactly how you want it.
Feel free to let me know any comments or questions you have. Hope this helps!!
Steve Rosen-Recruitment Specialist
You are a professional and comfortable in your current position. You have been with your company for a lengthy amount of time. You have not searched for different opportunities. You like it where you are.You find an email that says, your manager needs to speak with you. Her assistant, contacts you in person and verbally repeats the email you have read. You say “what is this about” and she would not say why.
You enter the meeting with your manager. You are told, you have done nothing wrong but, YOU ARE LAID OFF. You are unemployed and find yourself in transition and this was not your decision.
What is the way to proceed after you hear you are laid off?
Do not emotionally overreact . This is likely very hard not to, try to be professional about this. The outcome could be a letter of recommendation, potential hiring managers would take this in consideration. Before you begin your career search and take out your resume, take some personal time to assess your situation and what your goals are. If you are not over being laid off, it reflects on an interview. If you take any offer and you are hired, this is where bad career decisions usually take place.
Do not let this define who you are. You are not the only person that has been laid off. Make a plan and achieve it. If you are stuck at this point, here are some suggestions.
Update your resume and your linkedin profile in the following fashion:
Using Linkedin - Have a complete profile with details of accomplishments and projects you managed.
Using Workfolio - This is a personal branding online resume that attracts hiring managers.
Using Social Media - Have a professional profile, to impress hiring managers by sharing your professional knowledge through Blogs.
Using Glass Door - Search and Research what employees are saying about the management of the way they treat employees. This tells you if this is a business that meets your career needs.
Network at meetup events, etc. - Connect with professional that are like you. They are your best advocate to refer you in to their organization
The solution is not allowing being laid off to take an emotional toll on you. Take the perspective that this gives you an opportunity to do something completely different or better than what you had!
With a focused strategy, you are setting yourself up for success!
Steve Rosen-Sr. Recruiting Consultant