Whether you lack relevant work experience for a potential position or basically lack work experience at all, you can still create a successful job search marketing campaign.  The key is to focus on your transferable skills. 

Experience, obviously, is what immediately catches the attention of potential employers.  Without a doubt, you will not be hired unless you can do a give job, but the person hired must also possess other qualities such as leadership, problem solving and initiative to name a few.

The foundation for a great financial analyst is the ability to ANALYZE.  You may have not experience in finance, but if you are able to prove your ability to successfully analyze data then you are promoting the ultimate value an employer seeks if interviewing candidates for this type position.  This is called transferrable skills.  Your job as a candidate is to prove your ability to deliver quality results not just complete tasks.  

Undergraduate students typically spend a great deal of time with involvement in student organizations.  Whether they are leaders or active members, there are a myriad of opportunities to showcase skills that can be highly valuable to potential employers.  Team class projects are ideal for building skill sets such as leadership, verbal communications and problem solving.

When you are creating your job search campaign, focus on promoting everything you have in your past to prove your value.  Employers hire based on your knowledge, skills, and experience.  Even without relevant work experience, you can still promote your value and be competitive in the job market.

Most popular word pressing programs offer templates for several documents including resumes. My advice to anyone seeking to present a professional resume whether that be for a new job or application to an MBA or any graduate program is to refrain from using standardized templates. There are several professional resume services available with free templates to use which are all accepted by business today.

A word processing resume template screams amateur and is not taken seriously at the professional level of the job search. White space is important, but your resume should always be designed in relation to the types of positions and careers you are seeking. Your resume should be your masterpiece and be designed in a way that shares the most important information in the most effective way possible.

Professional resume writing organizations such as the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches has a robust database of resume writers with the most professional templates available. There are also several other associations to search as well. Take the value of your resume seriously and don’t look like an amateur. If your resume looks like an amateur, so will you as the job seeker.

Joining groups on LinkedIn can be a very profitable opportunity for building relationships and gaining information for job seekers if used effectively.  Job seekers often ask me how to meet people on LinkedIn, and I can tell you right now that asking people you do not know to add you to their contacts list isn’t the way to go.  Here is a quick list of 7 things you can do to create a professional presence in your LinkedIn Groups which will result in building your contact base.

  1. Introduce yourself on the group.  Let everyone know you have joined and what you hope to learn from the content discussed.
  2. Join in on conversations in the group.  Comment on what you are learning or maybe add something you have recently read. 
  3. Watch the LinkedIn and online activity of the other members of the group.  See what others are doing and try to emulate when appropriate.
  4. Look for group member’s blogs and be sure to comment every now and then. 
  5. Ask to connect with members of the group once you have established yourself.  This might take a few weeks or a few months.  You just want to make sure you don’t join the group and immediately start asking everyone to be your contact.
  6. Follow the companies of group members and show interest in the companies represented.  The people involved in groups all belong to potential employers. Always remember that very important fact.
  7. If joining a group for an association, look for information on national conferences and either attend or join in on discussions for those not attending.  A growing trend is group conversations for those not attending a conference.  Look for twitter hash tags. 

Building a professional reputation online isn’t about increasing your number of contacts alone.  You have to prove that you are interested in what others have to say and that you want to learn from the experts.  Remember the simple rule of effective networking is showing you care more about other’s needs than your own.

Each year I receive numerous questions from returning students on how to add an internship to an already full-page resume.  Students struggle with what to delete in order to fit the job description and accomplishments from their internship onto the page.  How do they decide what to delete in order to add more information?  Can they have a two-page resume? 

If you only have a certain amount of space to demonstrate your value to a potential employer, you need to identify what information MUST be on your resume and not focus so much on what to delete.  Too often, especially early in our careers, we work to add as much information as possible to our resumes to fill the page.  Then, once we start getting substance to our portfolios we struggle with that to delete.  Your goal is to have a resume that promotes the value you will offer potential employers.   Can one have a two-page resume as an undergrad or graduate student?  While some people will say some graduate students can certainly have a two-page resume, most still say keep it to one page.   Regardless of the length, the purpose of a resume remains to be a document that grabs the attention of the reader to promote knowledge, skills and abilities. 

After completing an internship, you should see that this experience is what needs to be on your resume as opposed to bullet points from previous jobs.  You will start to distinguish between your work history and professional experience.  Jobs that allow you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability and value towards your future career goals will take the place of jobs in which you answered the phone for a parent’s company or other part time jobs. 

Each time you add something to your resume, decide whether this experience is better suited to market your ability in the future or just state what you did in the past.  Your high school experiences helped you get into a great college or university; your college experiences help you land a great entry-level position.

Who likes writing objective statements?  Who actually reads objective statements?  My guess is that the answer to both of those questions is a NO!  Objective statements are outdated and should not be used anymore. 

So, you might be asking yourself, what do I write at the top of my resume to show an employer what I’m seeking?  The answer is much more interesting to both write and read.  Write a BRANDING STATEMENT!

When you purchase any product, you search for traits and qualities that meet your needs.  Through a targeted marketing campaign, the seller showcases their product’s value.  The value that a product can contribute is what the customer wants to read and subsequently buy. The same holds true for a resume.

Employers want to see how you can meet their needs.  By writing a quality branding statement, you will not only articulate what you can do for a potential employer but will also state your goals if written effectively.  A branding statement noting your proven ability to manage large-scale projects will interest employers seeking project managers.  Your communication is focused on the customer or employer not yourself.

As a job seeker, your responsibility is to brand yourself as a solution to potential employer’s needs.  Hiring managers are tasked with having the right resources to effectively produce positive results.  Challenging opportunities within an organization where you can increase your responsibility and upward mobility will be the result of you being a valued contributor to that organization not the reason you are hired.  Brand yourself as a solution in your resume introduction and employers will pay attention.  Your objective will be met once you demonstrate you are the ideal brand for the organization.

Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If this is the case, then insanity is rampant amongst job seekers today.

Are you frustrated that no one is responding to the dozens of resumes you are submitting online? Do you find yourself discouraged at attending career fairs only to be told to apply online and then nothing happen? Not only is this unsuccessful practice a form of insanity, but the frustration will lead you to insanity as well.

Get off of this hamster wheel. The job search process is frustrating enough. There is too much in life you can’t control, so focus what you can control. If something is not working in regards to your job search strategy, then change it. Here are a few quick tips to increase an effective job search process.

  1. Talk with a career coach: Career Coaches have the experience. These experts know the job search process across industry and functional area of business. They know the pulse of business today and work to guide job seekers towards the goal of finding employment. Visit www.careerealism.com for a solid list of professional career coaches.
  2. NETWORK: I can just imagine all of the eye rolls are reading my recommendation to network. Simply put, networking is the key to finding employment. Remember that applying for positions online is only a piece of the process. It is not THE process. Too many job seekers spend their time only applying online. If this is your approach, you are missing the most important step which is to connect with real human beings. Humans hire; systems track candidates.
  3. 3. Build a solid and professional online presence. Your LinkedIn profile should be a comprehensive marketing story of your past successes and future abilities. You should have a strong presence on Twitter making sure you are following industry professionals and employers of interest. Use Hashtags to search for conferences in your field in which you cannot attend. Get involved and be seen. To learn the very best tips on social networking, please read Miriam Salpeter’s book “Social Networking for Career Success”.

I recently read that job seekers should stop focusing on pushing our resumes for a successful job search and instead draw people to you. The former is how you put yourself on that job search hamster wheel. You will keep running in place without getting anywhere near your goal. Get off the hamster wheel and stop the insanity in your job search and career management. Stop doing the same thing and expect different results.

While it has been close to two years since I opened a Twitter account, it has been about a year since I have been active on Twitter.   I love Twitter!  It is the fastest, most effective way I have found to browse information that interests me and connect with other professionals.  Twitter has been an instrumental resource in elevating my passion and understanding of my profession to a whole new level.  Thank you Twitter!

I must say, however, that one of the most difficult things for me to grasp about Twitter was the #hashtag.  Trying to figure out what #FF means is a day I will not forget.  I was so confused, but once I learned the concept and how to effectively use hashtags, I was off to the races.  In my work, I have found two major areas in which hashtags have helped the most. 

(1)  Network and learn what is happening in your profession:  Along with dozens of other attendees of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) National Conference last week, I tweeted what I learned from speakers and colleagues throughout the event using the #NACE11 hashtag. Twitter and the hashtag brought the conference to those who could not attend the event, and I found great use in the hashtag search in learning what others were hearing.  This hashtag alone strengthened my connection with fellow Tweeters and those not attending.  My grade for the #NACE11 hashtag is an A+!

(2)  Join others in chats on the jobsearch:  Some of the best trending hashtags for job seekers include:  #career, #jobsearch, #jobseeker, #resume, #coverletters and the list goes on and on.  However, you can also find the best job search discussions with hashtags for professional chats.  Some of my favorite chats to follow include:  #internchat, #tchat, #hfchat and #careerchat. 

Using hashtags to get connected to conversations and information also helps you identify key people and organizations to follow.  Professional activity with Twitter and the use of hashtags can have a positive domino effect in your professional development and increase your business network.  Try it—you’ll like it.  Trust me!

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