Many people go about the job search without understanding what it takes today to be successful. Gone are the days when sitting at home behind the computer and applying via job boards will land you your next job. Think about it. I live in Seattle, a very attractive place, with many people trying to move here. So, if you’re a job seeker living in Seattle, you’re competing against people all over the world on those job boards. No, that won’t work anymore. Only a mere 15% of jobs are secured via job boards according to US News & World Report. That means the other 85% are secured other ways, primarily networking.
But let’s back up just a bit. There are a few important steps to complete before you ever apply for that first job.
You may have heard the rumors that a new interface is coming to LinkedIn, with less functionality. Yes, it’s true for the average non-Premium user. I’ve been doing some poking around with the new interface, and while there remains much to uncover, my first interest was the issue of Advanced Search, which I highly tout with my clients.
So, here’s your first peek at the new interface and how I’m finding you can still do some advanced searching with a little extra effort.
One of the ways many of my clients use Advanced Search is to see if they know anyone at a company high on their target list. Say you are interested in a position at Starbucks. After all, who isn’t? With the new interface, you simply type Starbucks in the search field. You’ll see below that you are offered several options:
If you’ve selected #1 above, People who work at Starbucks, you see this screen. You can now limit the list to your 1st level, 2nd level, 3rd+ level connections, or any combination.
Voila! You have accessed the same advanced search previously provided at the top of every screen. Yes, it’s a little more work, but we’ve learned with each new iteration of LinkedIn, great features get harder to find.
I’ve still much research to do to uncover all the new features, but this particular one, being such a concern to so many, seemed worth sharing now.
If you haven’t yet been converted to the new interface, you will in time. LinkedIn is rolling it out to groups, what groups, we don’t yet know, but it’s distinctly different. Stay tuned. As I learn more, I’ll be sharing it out.
Clients seeking employment often come to me with the idea that they just need a resume or a LinkedIn profile to successfully land their next job. As a result, they think one meeting to brush up one or the other will be all they need. After all, if you’re sending out your resume, why would LinkedIn matter? And if you’ve got a great LinkedIn profile that is getting attention, why do you need a resume? Isn’t it all the same information? The truth is, both are important for different reasons, and no, they don’t contain the same exact information. Some believe resumes will become a thing of the past, and I don't disagree, but for the time being, they remain an important element of any job search.
I like to think of LinkedIn as your ‘public resume’. It’s the information that you’ve decided to share with the world to show your expertise and your brand to garner the attention of potential hiring managers and recruiters. But it should just be a glimpse into the full value you bring to your work. Yes, highlight your experience and particular areas of expertise, but leave them curious and wanting to know more about you. That will encourage them to reach out to you.
That’s where the resume comes in. Your resume is more specific, listing accomplishments that you’ve achieved throughout your career. And, yes, your resume should be adjusted for each job you apply for, to highlight the experience you have that is directly relevant to the position you’re applying for. Not every resume should include your entire body of work. Once you’ve caught the attention of someone via LinkedIn and they reach out to you wanting more, you can supply them with a resume that shares the relevant in-depth detail about your work with quantifiable data to demonstrate your value tailored to the position in question. Sure, you may have experience with bookkeeping, but if the position is in learning and development, why include that experience? Keep it relevant.
If you’ve provided the right amount of information and piqued their interest, an interview is bound to follow. That’s when they get to experience the full YOU with all your experience and value up close!
So, don’t ignore either one. They are both important and both play a role in your job search. Not sure where to start? There certainly is a lot to it, but a career coach can help you get their faster. They’ll help identify your brand and develop the materials to properly broadcast that brand to the right audience.
In the world of career coaching, most of the focus is on guiding people to full time employment within an organization. This is as it has been for many years. However, there is a growing focus on something else; contracting, or freelancing. In fact, according to Entrepreneur Magazine, freelancers make up 34% of the American workforce. According to Forbes, 50% of Americans will be freelancers by 2020. There’s an entire book dedicated to this concept, The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want, by Diane Mulcahy.
Yes, a lot of attention is being given to the topic. I work primarily in the Seattle area, where tech is king and contract work is plentiful. An increasing number of mid-career professionals are coming to me, not for coaching toward full time employment, but for a successful shift from full time to contracting. Like all major decisions and life changes, there are pros and cons. Not everyone is suited for the life of a contractor. There are financial risks, an element of instability, and work required to maintain the level of employment to sustain your lifestyle.Whether you’ve considered contracting or not, here are some of the key benefits of going this route.
1. Flexibility. You won’t be tied permanently to a job. As a contractor, you’re most likely to work on projects, with distinct beginnings and endings. So, if you don’t like the company, the culture, or the work, you know it’s not forever and you can plan for the next step. Along with this, you have more control over your hours. Sure, the project may require a certain amount of time put in, but as a non-employee, you have more choices about leave time, etc.
2. Less Stress. You are no longer an employee with all the stress that may entail. No performance reviews, no office politics, no management responsibility. The simple mindset that this is all temporary and you’re not entrenched in the organization, frees you from many of the old stressors of employment.
3. As indicated in #1, you have the ability to move on. Most contracts are not binding, so if you don’t like working there, or find a different opportunity, in many cases, you are free to move on.
4. Potential for more income. While the financial aspects of contracting can be considered a negative (see next section), you are paid for all the hours you work. So if you work 70, 80 even 100 hours a week, as an hourly contractor, you are paid for all those hours. This is a huge shift from being a salaried employee!
5. There is no need to disclose other work you may be doing. Many companies require employees to disclose other work they have, and in some cases, bar employees from doing so. This is not the case as a contractor. What you do when not working the contract, is up to you without restriction. I know contractors that work two contracts simultaneously!
So, let’s talk about the negative aspects of contracting. Many people, as we can see from the growing number of people freelancing, have no problem with these, or the benefits outweigh them.
1. Your hourly rate as a contractor has to compensate you for not only your salary, but your social security, taxes and medical benefits. You must figure these costs in when negotiating your rate. There are many articles that detail these concerns. Smartasset.com provides one.
2. You are responsible for securing work. There is an element of marketing and sales to ensure you have a steady flow of income.
3. There is a certain amount of instability in being a contractor. You may have a month, or even two, pass without work. Can you manage your finances to carry you through these dry months, and can you be comfortable with it? On the other hand, for people with family, you have more freedom to take time off to enjoy summers and holidays with them.
4. You won’t be treated the same a full time employees. For many people this is fine, for others, there is a sense of being a ‘second class citizen’.
5. Some people feel being a contractor is not ‘as safe’ as being a full time employee. I have worked enough with people laid off from their jobs, to know there is no stability in a full time position. And yet, some people need to have that status to be comfortable.
So, if you’ve ever reached a point where you want more control over your work, give contracting a look. While it’s not for everyone, it’s clearly becoming more and more popular. There are a great many resources available to help you along the way to help you assess if you’re tolerant of this work style, and how to go about securing a contracting position. Good luck!
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Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.