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Follow-Ups

Follow-up letters are a great way to take the initiative in your job search. They are also essential in today's job market. Decision-makers are flooded with resumes and applications which mean that they often have a hard time differentiating one candidate from another. It's up to you to ensure that you are on the top of their minds.

For example: A hiring manager posts a position online. Through sheer luck, you are the first to respond however, 600 other applicants have also responded. Your letter (which was first!) has now been pushed to the bottom and could easily get lost in the flood of other applications. To make sure that you set yourself apart and get the attention you deserve, send a follow-up letter to help ensure that you get noticed by the hiring manager. Not only will they take note of your interest in the position, and get a great first impression of your dedication, but your chances of getting a response are much higher.

Remember that a follow-up letter shouldn’t be sent until at least a week has passed with no response. Hiring managers are busy with other tasks as well, so If you follow-up too soon or too often, you may end up being annoying, rather than awesome. Always be polite by giving hiring managers the necessary time to sort through all the candidates.

To create a great follow-up letter, remember the following:

• Maintain the same tone and voice that you did with your cover letter and resume.
• In your follow-up, reiterate your qualifications and continued interest in the position.
• Always thank them for their time and consideration
• Ensure that your contact information is at the top and easily located.
Being more proactive during your job search increases the chances of earning an interview, and the more of those you can secure, the higher the chances you have of getting hired!
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Check out the great job seeker questions and advice CB gave the viewers of ABC7 in Chicago.
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Advice From Hiring Managers

Hiring managers want to interview as many good candidates as possible, just as you want to be the best candidate out there. Do you really think they enjoy sifting through stacks of the same, unappealing resumes day after day; interviewing the same types of people? No, they want people coming in their doors who have a sense of what to expect and what to bring to the table--not just what they've been told to do or even worse, have no idea what they're doing.


Companies do better when business is better. And that starts by getting people back in the workforce and putting that money right back in the economy. These are a few simple, to-the-point tips that they've offered to better prepare you on your way to making the money they want you to be able to spend.

1) BE CLEAR, NOT VAGUE. In your resume, cover letter, on the phone, or in person, make sure that you're making your skills and qualifications obvious. Actions speak louder than words so show them rather than simply telling them that you're good for the job.

2) DON'T APPLY BLINDLY. Do your research and know some background information about the company before you make contact. Even if you don't get a call, it's better to be over prepared than under.

3) HAVE ALL YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW. Expect potential employers to do their own investigating on you. Be sure that anywhere they can find you they're not going to be in a for a shocking surprise.

4) FEEL OUT THE COMPANY INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING THE DOLLAR SIGNS. A lot of job seekers forfeit taking into account how well they would fit within a company's culture. Rather, they're more driven by the numbers on their paycheck. This can sometimes backfire as it can lead to clashing personalities or work styles that end up with the person leaving soon after being hired.

Consider things like company type. Are you more compatible within a non-profit or corporate environment? Do you like working with a team or on independent assignments? Which company do you think you have common with? Finding the right company is similar to finding a good mate. You want the relationship to last so take your time so as not to end up wasting more later by letting factors like money mislead your better judgment.

5) UNDERSTAND THE COMPANY'S GOALS. Find out where the company is headed and if you're on the same track. Talk about your potential role in its future and how you would be an asset to them in achieving their goals.

6) POINT OUT IF YOU'RE A VETERAN. Veterans shouldn't focus on that fact, but it's definitely something to highlight. They have a lot of good qualities and military background shows initiative, character, and service. Plus, it shows that the candidate works well in teams and knows how to take responsibility for his or her own actions.

7) HIGHLIGHT YOUR GOOD TRACK RECORD AND YOUR ABILITY TO ADAPT TO CHANGE. If a hiring manager is at a toss up between candidates, it will usually come down to how has the potential to grow and learn. Companies want to bring people on board who are flexible--that they don't need to cater to--and who have variable skill sets.
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Don't Back Out Without a Backup

It's an unfortunate reality that many working individuals would jump at the opportunity to quit their jobs. The only thing stopping them, however, is not having a backup. Looking for jobs and interviewing is tough if you want to hang on to the one you already have in the meantime.

Searches are time consuming and in order to be really successful require some comittment to sending out resumes and making connections with contacts. Plus, even if you are called for an interview, you may not be able to get the day off from work to go.

Anyone who may be wanting to take that chance anyway... Don't! In a better economy, that may not be as risky but with so many people out of work and looking, it's best to hold on to anything that's providing you a steady income. There are plenty of people who are more than willing to pounce at a job opening so don't make it yours. You will more than likely be looking for a new position for a while and realize the grave mistake made.

No matter how much you dislike your job, remember that you are lucky to have one. Your boss my be unbearable, you may be bored with life, want more pay, are stressed or overwhelmed but nothing is worse than to still have some of these problems and be broke.

Don't forget that your luck may run out when you interview for your next job and they ask you why you left your previous one. The fact that you got really fired up one day and decided to walk out probably isn't the best response for making a good impression. But neither is lying. So the smartest thing to do if you really want to leave your job is to prepare yourself with the best chances of finding a new one. That includes leaving your current job on a good note.

Positivity is key! You're not the only one who would probably be happier in another job but the ones that get ahead still do it a smile on their faces. People who are able to manage their disliking for their job well will find it easier to come across open doors to other opportunities. Why? Because companies want workers who will boost the company up and that can't be done with dragging feet and a hanging face. Quitters can expect to be shunned by companies.

If your job really makes you feel like going off the deep end then it might be good to find an outlet to let some steam off. Get a punching bag, take a dance class, play a violent video game--something to let our your agression to prevent it from building up.

After that, give your attitude a checkup and adjust it a bit. Part of your discontentment may stem from your outlook on life and your job. If you start to tell yourself that the world is against you then you'll start feeling defensive. Instead, try to think of the positive attributes of your job and what you actually enjoy about being there, even if it's just the fact that you get paid that's still something to appreciate.

Besides, even working at fast food joints have their perks, maybe not great ones, but at the end of the day they still make an earning, right? So why spend your precious waking moments getting yourself down with unnecessary stress when in the end, it's all about the dollar signs anyway.

While on the job hunt, keep that to yourself. Employers can become weary when hearing of employees looking around for other jobs. Be careful when it comes to using social networking sites like LinkedIn. Employers may come across status updates that catch them off guard and can cause tension at work.

In the end, your career choices are yours, but they can have an effect on your future along with your family's so you want to make wise decisions that will keep you out of financial troubles. Never quit a job without having a back up, even if you hear from people that you may be offered a position, don't act on hearsay.


Everyone at some point in their lives works a job that they rather wouldn't, but in an economy where jobs are scarce we often don't get the luxury of first choices.
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What You Need to Know In the Digital Market

The job market isn't what it used to be. Technological advances have opened an infinite amount of doors that allow job seekers to connect with employers in a variety of ways. With unemployment shrinking to its lowest since May 2008 to 8.6% the economy is looking up and job seekers are gaining confidence.The new, growing market allows people to make their online presence known and expand their network of strategically acquired contacts.


Employees are looking for the best talent and now that they're easier to find job seekers need to be able to use the internet to their best advantage.With social networking becoming a more mainstream approach for companies to recruit, these are some of the things that job seekers should know when trying to get noticed.


YOUR PROFILES ARE ALSO YOUR RESUME

Now that employers have so many different outlets to find the perfect candidate, job seekers also have just as many ways that they need to reach out and stand out. A report done by Michigan State University showed that 36% of companies that were surveyed use social media sites for recruiting. Recruiters want to find the most current information about candidates which can't always be reflected in a single resume document. Social networks make that information readily available to employers and job seekers are encouraged to include these links in their applications.

Keep in mind that these profiles should be strictly professional. Only publish information that is relevant to the employer but also allows them to get a sense of who you are. The social profile should be more of an added bonus to your resume that illustrates why they should be interested in you and shows you as an individual, rather than bullet points on a resume in a sea of others. Your profile should also include relevant news stories that shows them what interests you about the industry as well. Be an original while maintaining a professional tone.

THE MOST SUCCESS IS DONE BY SHOWING UP

Social media networks are a great resource for job hunters to amp up their campaigns, but they lose power when you lack a presence in those outlets. In order for them to be most effective, your contribution to them is crucial. News streams, current topics of interest, and discussions are all things you should be proactive in.

Many companies make use of Facebook Pages specifically meant for careers and hiring. Savvy job seekers will use these pages to their advantage by asking questions and being involved. Responses are typically quick and there are more possibilities to establish instant. Plus, there are leading people in every field leading who do their own social broadcasting. It's good to follow those people so you can get an inside look at an expertise perspective.

YOU MAKE A DIRECT CONNECTION

Social networks made accessing communication with companies and recruiters much easier and enable you to link up with hiring manager one-on-one. Social media encourages a more personal interaction and a sense of openness. Many hiring managers actually make their own social profiles available for public viewing so that candidates can get a sense for a representation of the company. Job seekers should connect with hiring managers within their desired field as well as their location. Work toward developing a direct relationship with them and it will raise your chances of making connections and meeting important people.

WHILE YOU LOOK FOR JOBS, EMPLOYERS LOOK FOR YOU

More and more companies are downsizing their advertising budgets and steering their efforts toward referral. The MSU report shows that 44% of companies are using the referral method and 49% are tapping in to their alumni as a means of recruitment. Social networks are an easy way for hiring managers to find the best possible candidates and to speed up the narrowing process. The more extensive your social network is, the more opportunities you'll have in finding job prospects.

Don't weed out people because you assume they won't help you professionally. Opportunities can arise from any connection be it a neighbor or a colleague. Social networks work just as well as job boards in offering an abundance of job listings and spreading the word about open positions. By establishing your personal brand along with a grabbing online presence, you'll be making valuable connections nearly as fast as your internets.
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Tips to Freshen Up Your Resume

A resume is an indefinite work in progess. Never should you put your resume down without the intention of revisiting it for more tweaking. Not all companies and job descriptions are the same, so your resume needs to address each difference.
Knowing how to continually review and update your resume will help keep you from getting put lower and lower in the stack. Submitting a resume to a company is like entering yourself in a race among hundreds, even thousands, and there can only be one winner. You need to find ways to stay ahead of the pack and here are some tips how:

Turn your objective into a proposition.

The only objective companies care about are their own. Instead of including an objective in your resume, replace that with a valuable offer, something you can bring to the table. Objective statements are now getting closer to being obsolete. Create a statement that will draw in the reader. This unique value proposition should let the hiring manager know your career goals. Employers are attracted to candidates that can pack a big punch in a short paragraph.

Remove dead weight.

Having something on your resume that doesn't really apply to any position you're going for now is a waste of resume real estate. Resumes need to be brief so every word has to perform. Things that are outdated and irrelevant don't add much to your experience. It's just more text for the reader to skim past.

Update, update, update.

Along with removing any unnecessary information, you want to improve what you plan to keep. Rethink ways of saying things on your resume like job titles and accomplishments. You want them to sound as strong as possible as opposed to being so straightforward that they lack any resonance. Embellish without exaggerating. For example, if you worked in retail call yourself a sales associate rather than a cashier. Who would you rather hire? And instead saying you did one thing or another, give an example of an accomplishment you did while doing it. Details go the furthest when trying to say a lot in a little bit of space.

Adjust your resume format.

Forget about your resume for five minutes then take a fresh look at it at arm's length. Do you like what you see? Are there words that pop and make you read on or are you just bored? Resumes with a cookie-cutter, old-style format aren't appealing. Not to you, not to anyone else. That doesn't mean it should look like the homepage of a website, but it should be constructed in way that is free of clutter, bulky paragraphs, and inconsistency. Try out different things and see what works best so the next time you take a fresh look at your resume, your resume will be just as refreshing.

Write, proofread, repeat.

It doesn't matter how flawless you think your resume is. The fact of matter is that it will always be flawed in order to leave room for improvement. As previously mentioned, a resume is an indefinite work in progress. Find time to revisit your resume on a regular basis, doesn't have to be every day, but at least every few weeks, and upkeep the maintenance on it. A word here, a punctuation there. Little things add up and before you know it your resume will be the example that others are using to improve theirs.
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