Picture
 
 
Picture
by Sara Pacelle


As one of the many job seekers out there, you work hard every day on your search. You do your online searches, have your lists, write your cover letters, send in your applications and then…, you play the waiting game. You don’t hear from anyone, so you do the same thing the next day, and the next and the next. Each time you apply to a job opening, you expend some of your precious job search energy and when it is not recharged with feedback, you can begin to feel depleted and frustrated. I envision this kind of job seeker sitting in the Waiting Place, vividly described in the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.  The Waiting Place...”


This description of the Waiting Place depicts where many of today’s job seekers are, those whose strategy is to focus only on the open job market. The open job market contains jobs publicly posted on job boards, and company websites and listed with staffing and recruitment companies. These available advertised positions are open for all to see. Since there are many eyes looking at and applying to these same finite roles, the competition is stiff and full of other applicants who may also end up in the Waiting Place.

The other type of job seeker dwells in this open job market, but only 20% of their time. The majority of their time they spend proactively and energetically in the hidden job market. The hidden job market has jobs that are not open to the public and which may not yet even exist. These jobs are about to be generated by company growth, outplacements, terminations retirements, and future openings. They are also jobs that are specifically created for individuals who have emerged with certain skillsets or experience.

To find out about these potential jobs, you need a plan and a good pair of walking shoes. First, research and target companies where you would like to work. Next, set up Google Alerts and Follow those companies on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Join industry associations and other networking groups to build your contacts and get closer to your targeted companies. Connect with people who already work at those companies. Network your way into informational interviews to learn as much as you can about the companies and their needs. Do this strategy with each of your target companies. Chances are over time and through these meetings, you will encounter a hiring manager or decision maker who could use your skills and experience on their team, now or in the future. Hiring managers are always on the lookout for potential talent, especially ones whom they have already met. Employees welcome talking with interested prospects since companies are increasingly using Employee Referral Programs that compensate their employees who bring in successful hires.

So, how do you get out of the Waiting Place? Focus most of your job search energy on the hidden job market. It’s proactive, energizing and results-driven, where you, the job seeker, are in control. Oh, the places you will go!


 
 
Picture
Business Insider's Justin Gmoser tells us that one common trait of successful people is that they rise early in the morning.  Take a cue from Apple CEO Tim Cook who is up and about at 5 am or Virgin founder Richard Branson who wakes up with the sunrise.  Not a morning person?  Well, its never to late to start.  Begin by going to bed early and consistently at the same time each night.   Get 6 - 8 hours of sleep and wake at the same time each morning.  Refrain from "catching up" on sleep on the weekends and breaking your pattern.  Exercise first thing in the morning and eat a good breakfast wtih protein.  Pack your lunch and pick out your outfit the night before. Learn to rise with the sun.  Need some technological help? Therapy lights can help imitate sunlight and sleep apps can tell you your sleep patterns. Check out the video in the link below to learn how to become a morning person and be productive in the early mornig. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-become-a-morning-person-2013-8#ixzz2eMMhi13w

 
 
Picture
By Sara Pacelle

Even though you may be a uniquely qualified job candidate, there are lots of reasons why you may not be getting the interview calls.  Some, frankly, are not within your control, but many are and can be addressed.  If you feel that you are perfect for the job and have done your research, avoiding some common mistakes can help get you in the door.

If you remember one thing from this article, please let it be this......if you don’t get the interview, it’s important in all cases, never to take it personally.   As the old adage goes, it may be all for the best.  The company may not be the best fit.  So don’t linger over feeling rejected, get right back in the game and focus your attention on new opportunities.

Let’s discuss some of those reasons you’re not getting the interview that are out of your control and therefore, not worth worrying about.  Most organizations will never admit to some of these, but they do happen.

1.     Tight Job Market:  This is blaringly obvious, but must be mentioned. Hiring managers receive tons of resumes from well-qualified candidates with industry experience.
2.     Company History: Hiring managers evaluate the companies where you worked and these companies may not meet their criteria. 
3.     Internal Candidate:  There may be an internal candidate the organization intends to place in the advertised position.  The organization’s rules may require that all positions be externally posted.  Even if you were Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs, there is little chance you would be considered for the position.  The posting is a mere formality.  Unfortunately this happens.

4.     Recruiter burnout:  You sent your application In right away, but the recruiter is being inundated with resumes and decides to limit the number s/he will review.  Yours doesn’t even get looked at.  
5.     You’re not the Purple Cow:  Remember the humorous verse:
I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

The organization may be looking for that perfect candidate (who may not even exist) or they may be trying to round out their group with a certain type of person.  You may not fit that type.   Period.  Move on.

Now, as for the reasons within your control, here are some to consider:
1.     Your resume doesn’t show excellence and enthusiasm.  It’s important that your resume is results-driven to capture the recruiter’s attention.  Don’t simply list your job responsibilities.  Show your quantifiable accomplishments and let them know that you can do the same for their organization.  Your resume is like a movie trailer.  Make them want to see you.
2.     You don’t include keywords.  Most of the time, scanning software will be used to screen your resume.  If it doesn’t have certain keywords from the job posting, it will be tossed.  Make sure your resume addresses the job description and requirements.
3.       You have employment gaps or look like a job hopper:  If you have a lot of short term roles, try to bundle them in a way that shows more consistency and focuses on skills.
4.     You don’t follow the explicit directions.  Carefully study the job application directions.  This is not the time to cut corners or be lazy.  Proofread and eliminate any typos or grammatical errors.  Answer all the questions that are asked.  Any missing information can be hazardous.
5.     Your coverletter shows no passion for the job.  Your coverletter is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how much you want the job and how qualified you are by giving more description of your unique accomplishments and how they tie to the job description.
6.     To Whom It May Concern:
This coverletter salutation can be seen as too general.  It may be difficult, but try to get the name of the hiring manager by calling the company.  Hiring managers say that although this is not essential, it does help to garner their attention when they see applications addressed personally to them. You might also address it to the Manager of the Department (eg., “Hiring Manager, Accounting Department”).
7.     You haven’t networked into the Company:  If you are able to be referred by someone within the company or known to the hiring manager, mention the contact within the coverletter.  Ask any in-house referrals to also hand deliver your resume to the hiring manager and/or send an email endorsing you and your application for the job.
8.     You don’t follow up:  You should call or email the hiring manager within two weeks of submitting your application and make sure you send thank you emails after each contact you have with the company or with references.
9.        Your timing is off:   Perhaps you applied too late  Try to apply as soon as a job posting is listed. 

In the end, if you’re a great match for a job, have put your best foot forward and you still don’t get the interview, move on.  There are lots of new job postings every day and pursuing those in an excellent manner and looking ahead is the best way to expend your energy.  Getting a job is not just about being the best candidate who meets all the job requirements.  It’s also about motivation and drive and self-confidence.   Perseverance is critical in the job search.  It’s only a matter of time when you will get those phone calls for interviews.


 
 
Picture
BIG COMPANIES UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF BRANDS. TODAY, IN THE AGE OF THE INDIVIDUAL, YOU HAVE TO BE YOUR OWN BRAND. HERE'S WHAT IT TAKES TO BE THE CEO OF ME INC.

BY: TOM PETERS
This article first appeared in Fast Company in 1997.  Tom Peters is a business management guru best known for his iconic book In Search of Excellence.  Tom coined the term “personal branding” in this article and it is even more pertinent in today’s job world.  You want to craft and own your personal brand.  I've shared the entire article because it is that good. .  

It's a new brand world.

That cross-trainer you're wearing -- one look at the distinctive swoosh on the side tells everyone who's got you branded. That coffee travel mug you're carrying -- ah, you're a Starbucks woman! Your T-shirt with the distinctive Champion "C" on the sleeve, the blue jeans with the prominent Levi's rivets, the watch with the hey-this-certifies-I-made-it icon on the face, your fountain pen with the maker's symbol crafted into the end ...

You're branded, branded, branded, branded.

It's time for me -- and you -- to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that's true for anyone who's interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

It's that simple -- and that hard. And that inescapable.

Behemoth companies may take turns buying each other or acquiring every hot startup that catches their eye -- mergers in 1996 set records. Hollywood may be interested in only blockbusters and book publishers may want to put out only guaranteed best-sellers. But don't be fooled by all the frenzy at the humongous end of the size spectrum.

The real action is at the other end: the main chance is becoming a free agent in an economy of free agents, looking to have the best season you can imagine in your field, looking to do your best work and chalk up a remarkable track record, and looking to establish your own micro equivalent of the Nike swoosh. Because if you do, you'll not only reach out toward every opportunity within arm's (or laptop's) length, you'll not only make a noteworthy contribution to your team's success -- you'll also put yourself in a great bargaining position for next season's free-agency market.

The good news -- and it is largely good news -- is that everyone has a chance to stand out. Everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build up their skills. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark.

Who understands this fundamental principle? The big companies do. They've come a long way in a short time: it was just over four years ago, April 2, 1993 to be precise, when Philip Morris cut the price of Marlboro cigarettes by 40 cents a pack. That was on a Friday. On Monday, the stock market value of packaged goods companies fell by $25 billion. Everybody agreed: brands were doomed.

Today brands are everything, and all kinds of products and services -- from accounting firms to sneaker makers to restaurants -- are figuring out how to transcend the narrow boundaries of their categories and become a brand surrounded by a Tommy Hilfiger-like buzz.

Who else understands it? Every single Web site sponsor. In fact, the Web makes the case for branding more directly than any packaged good or consumer product ever could. Here's what the Web says: Anyone can have a Web site. And today, because anyone can ... anyone does! So how do you know which sites are worth visiting, which sites to bookmark, which sites are worth going to more than once? The answer: branding. The sites you go back to are the sites you trust. They're the sites where the brand name tells you that the visit will be worth your time -- again and again. The brand is a promise of the value you'll receive.

The same holds true for that other killer app of the Net -- email. When everybody has email and anybody can send you email, how do you decide whose messages you're going to read and respond to first -- and whose you're going to send to the trash unread? The answer: personal branding. The name of the email sender is every bit as important a brand -- is a brand -- as the name of the Web site you visit. It's a promise of the value you'll receive for the time you spend reading the message.

Nobody understands branding better than professional services firms. Look at McKinsey or Arthur Andersen for a model of the new rules of branding at the company and personal level. Almost every professional services firm works with the same business model. They have almost no hard assets -- my guess is that most probably go so far as to rent or lease every tangible item they possibly can to keep from having to own anything. They have lots of soft assets -- more conventionally known as people, preferably smart, motivated, talented people. And they have huge revenues -- and astounding profits.

They also have a very clear culture of work and life. You're hired, you report to work, you join a team -- and you immediately start figuring out how to deliver value to the customer. Along the way, you learn stuff, develop your skills, hone your abilities, move from project to project. And if you're really smart, you figure out how to distinguish yourself from all the other very smart people walking around with $1,500 suits, high-powered laptops, and well-polished resumes. Along the way, if you're really smart, you figure out what it takes to create a distinctive role for yourself -- you create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.

WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT?

Start right now: as of this moment you're going to think of yourself differently! You're not an "employee" of General Motors, you're not a "staffer" at General Mills, you're not a "worker" at General Electric or a "human resource" at General Dynamics (ooops, it's gone!). Forget the Generals! You don't "belong to" any company for life, and your chief affiliation isn't to any particular "function." You're not defined by your job title and you're not confined by your job description.

Starting today you are a brand.

You're every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times.

If your answer wouldn't light up the eyes of a prospective client or command a vote of confidence from a satisfied past client, or -- worst of all -- if it doesn't grab you, then you've got a big problem. It's time to give some serious thought and even more serious effort to imagining and developing yourself as a brand.

Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors -- or your colleagues. What have you done lately -- this week -- to make yourself stand out? What would your colleagues or your customers say is your greatest and clearest strength? Your most noteworthy (as in, worthy of note) personal trait?

Go back to the comparison between brand You and brand X -- the approach the corporate biggies take to creating a brand. The standard model they use is feature-benefit: every feature they offer in their product or service yields an identifiable and distinguishable benefit for their customer or client. A dominant feature of Nordstrom department stores is the personalized service it lavishes on each and every customer. The customer benefit: a feeling of being accorded individualized attention -- along with all of the choice of a large department store.

So what is the "feature-benefit model" that the brand called You offers? Do you deliver your work on time, every time? Your internal or external customer gets dependable, reliable service that meets its strategic needs. Do you anticipate and solve problems before they become crises? Your client saves money and headaches just by having you on the team. Do you always complete your projects within the allotted budget? I can't name a single client of a professional services firm who doesn't go ballistic at cost overruns.

Your next step is to cast aside all the usual descriptors that employees and workers depend on to locate themselves in the company structure. Forget your job title. Ask yourself: What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value? Forget your job description. Ask yourself: What do I do that I am most proud of? Most of all, forget about the standard rungs of progression you've climbed in your career up to now. Burn that damnable "ladder" and ask yourself: What have I accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about? If you're going to be a brand, you've got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you're proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.

When you've done that, sit down and ask yourself one more question to define your brand: What do I want to be famous for? That's right -- famous for!

WHAT'S THE PITCH FOR YOU?

So it's a cliché: don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle. it's also a principle that every corporate brand understands implicitly, from Omaha Steaks's through-the-mail sales program to Wendy's "we're just regular folks" ad campaign. No matter how beefy your set of skills, no matter how tasty you've made that feature-benefit proposition, you still have to market the bejesus out of your brand -- to customers, colleagues, and your virtual network of associates.

For most branding campaigns, the first step is visibility. If you're General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler, that usually means a full flight of TV and print ads designed to get billions of "impressions" of your brand in front of the consuming public. If you're brand You, you've got the same need for visibility -- but no budget to buy it.

So how do you market brand You?

There's literally no limit to the ways you can go about enhancing your profile. Try moonlighting! Sign up for an extra project inside your organization, just to introduce yourself to new colleagues and showcase your skills -- or work on new ones. Or, if you can carve out the time, take on a freelance project that gets you in touch with a totally novel group of people. If you can get them singing your praises, they'll help spread the word about what a remarkable contributor you are.

If those ideas don't appeal, try teaching a class at a community college, in an adult education program, or in your own company. You get credit for being an expert, you increase your standing as a professional, and you increase the likelihood that people will come back to you with more requests and more opportunities to stand out from the crowd.

If you're a better writer than you are a teacher, try contributing a column or an opinion piece to your local newspaper. And when I say local, I mean local. You don't have to make the op-ed page of the New York Times to make the grade. Community newspapers, professional newsletters, even inhouse company publications have white space they need to fill. Once you get started, you've got a track record -- and clips that you can use to snatch more chances.

And if you're a better talker than you are teacher or writer, try to get yourself on a panel discussion at a conference or sign up to make a presentation at a workshop. Visibility has a funny way of multiplying; the hardest part is getting started. But a couple of good panel presentations can earn you a chance to give a "little" solo speech -- and from there it's just a few jumps to a major address at your industry's annual convention.

The second important thing to remember about your personal visibility campaign is: it all matters. When you're promoting brand You, everything you do -- and everything you choose not to do -- communicates the value and character of the brand. Everything from the way you handle phone conversations to the email messages you send to the way you conduct business in a meeting is part of the larger message you're sending about your brand.

Partly it's a matter of substance: what you have to say and how well you get it said. But it's also a matter of style. On the Net, do your communications demonstrate a command of the technology? In meetings, do you keep your contributions short and to the point? It even gets down to the level of your brand You business card: Have you designed a cool-looking logo for your own card? Are you demonstrating an appreciation for design that shows you understand that packaging counts -- a lot -- in a crowded world?

The key to any personal branding campaign is "word-of-mouth marketing." Your network of friends, colleagues, clients, and customers is the most important marketing vehicle you've got; what they say about you and your contributions is what the market will ultimately gauge as the value of your brand. So the big trick to building your brand is to find ways to nurture your network of colleagues -- consciously.

WHAT'S THE REAL POWER OF YOU?

If you want to grow your brand, you've got to come to terms with power -- your own. The key lesson: power is not a dirty word!

In fact, power for the most part is a badly misunderstood term and a badly misused capability. I'm talking about a different kind of power than we usually refer to. It's not ladder power, as in who's best at climbing over the adjacent bods. It's not who's-got-the-biggest-office-by-six-square-inches power or who's-got-the-fanciest-title power.

It's influence power.

It's being known for making the most significant contribution in your particular area. It's reputational power. If you were a scholar, you'd measure it by the number of times your publications get cited by other people. If you were a consultant, you'd measure it by the number of CEOs who've got your business card in their Rolodexes. (And better yet, the number who know your beeper number by heart.)

Getting and using power -- intelligently, responsibly, and yes, powerfully -- are essential skills for growing your brand. One of the things that attracts us to certain brands is the power they project. As a consumer, you want to associate with brands whose powerful presence creates a halo effect that rubs off on you.

It's the same in the workplace. There are power trips that are worth taking -- and that you can take without appearing to be a self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing megalomaniacal jerk. You can do it in small, slow, and subtle ways. Is your team having a hard time organizing productive meetings? Volunteer to write the agenda for the next meeting. You're contributing to the team, and you get to decide what's on and off the agenda. When it's time to write a post-project report, does everyone on your team head for the door? Beg for the chance to write the report -- because the hand that holds the pen (or taps the keyboard) gets to write or at least shape the organization's history.

Most important, remember that power is largely a matter of perception. If you want people to see you as a powerful brand, act like a credible leader. When you're thinking like brand You, you don't need org-chart authority to be a leader. The fact is you are a leader. You're leading You!

One key to growing your power is to recognize the simple fact that we now live in a project world. Almost all work today is organized into bite-sized packets called projects. A project-based world is ideal for growing your brand: projects exist around deliverables, they create measurables, and they leave you with braggables. If you're not spending at least 70% of your time working on projects, creating projects, or organizing your (apparently mundane) tasks into projects, you are sadly living in the past. Today you have to think, breathe, act, and work in projects.

Project World makes it easier for you to assess -- and advertise -- the strength of brand You. Once again, think like the giants do. Imagine yourself a brand manager at Procter & Gamble: When you look at your brand's assets, what can you add to boost your power and felt presence? Would you be better off with a simple line extension -- taking on a project that adds incrementally to your existing base of skills and accomplishments? Or would you be better off with a whole new product line? Is it time to move overseas for a couple of years, venturing outside your comfort zone (even taking a lateral move -- damn the ladders), tackling something new and completely different?

Whatever you decide, you should look at your brand's power as an exercise in new-look résumé; management -- an exercise that you start by doing away once and for all with the word "résumé." You don't have an old-fashioned résumé anymore! You've got a marketing brochure for brand You. Instead of a static list of titles held and positions occupied, your marketing brochure brings to life the skills you've mastered, the projects you've delivered, the braggables you can take credit for. And like any good marketing brochure, yours needs constant updating to reflect the growth -- breadth and depth -- of brand You.

WHAT'S LOYALTY TO YOU?

Everyone is saying that loyalty is gone; loyalty is dead; loyalty is over. I think that's a bunch of crap.

I think loyalty is much more important than it ever was in the past. A 40-year career with the same company once may have been called loyalty; from here it looks a lot like a work life with very few options, very few opportunities, and very little individual power. That's what we used to call indentured servitude.

Today loyalty is the only thing that matters. But it isn't blind loyalty to the company. It's loyalty to your colleagues, loyalty to your team, loyalty to your project, loyalty to your customers, and loyalty to yourself. I see it as a much deeper sense of loyalty than mindless loyalty to the Company Z logo.

I know this may sound like selfishness. But being CEO of Me Inc. requires you to act selfishly -- to grow yourself, to promote yourself, to get the market to reward yourself. Of course, the other side of the selfish coin is that any company you work for ought to applaud every single one of the efforts you make to develop yourself. After all, everything you do to grow Me Inc. is gravy for them: the projects you lead, the networks you develop, the customers you delight, the braggables you create generate credit for the firm. As long as you're learning, growing, building relationships, and delivering great results, it's good for you and it's great for the company.

That win-win logic holds for as long as you happen to be at that particular company. Which is precisely where the age of free agency comes into play. If you're treating your résumé as if it's a marketing brochure, you've learned the first lesson of free agency. The second lesson is one that today's professional athletes have all learned: you've got to check with the market on a regular basis to have a reliable read on your brand's value. You don't have to be looking for a job to go on a job interview. For that matter, you don't even have to go on an actual job interview to get useful, important feedback.

The real question is: How is brand You doing? Put together your own "user's group" -- the personal brand You equivalent of a software review group. Ask for -- insist on -- honest, helpful feedback on your performance, your growth, your value. It's the only way to know what you would be worth on the open market. It's the only way to make sure that, when you declare your free agency, you'll be in a strong bargaining position. It's not disloyalty to "them"; it's responsible brand management for brand You -- which also generates credit for them.

WHAT'S THE FUTURE OF YOU?

It's over. No more vertical. No more ladder. That's not the way careers work anymore. Linearity is out. A career is now a checkerboard. Or even a maze. It's full of moves that go sideways, forward, slide on the diagonal, even go backward when that makes sense. (It often does.) A career is a portfolio of projects that teach you new skills, gain you new expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your colleague set, and constantly reinvent you as a brand.

As you scope out the path your "career" will take, remember: the last thing you want to do is become a manager. Like "résumé," "manager" is an obsolete term. It's practically synonymous with "dead end job." What you want is a steady diet of more interesting, more challenging, more provocative projects. When you look at the progression of a career constructed out of projects, directionality is not only hard to track -- Which way is up? -- but it's also totally irrelevant.

Instead of making yourself a slave to the concept of a career ladder, reinvent yourself on a semiregular basis. Start by writing your own mission statement, to guide you as CEO of Me Inc. What turns you on? Learning something new? Gaining recognition for your skills as a technical wizard? Shepherding new ideas from concept to market? What's your personal definition of success? Money? Power? Fame? Or doing what you love? However you answer these questions, search relentlessly for job or project opportunities that fit your mission statement. And review that mission statement every six months to make sure you still believe what you wrote.

No matter what you're doing today, there are four things you've got to measure yourself against. First, you've got to be a great teammate and a supportive colleague. Second, you've got to be an exceptional expert at something that has real value. Third, you've got to be a broad-gauged visionary -- a leader, a teacher, a farsighted "imagineer." Fourth, you've got to be a businessperson -- you've got to be obsessed with pragmatic outcomes.

It's this simple: You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today. Or else.

Tom Peters (TJPET@aol.com) is the world's leading brand when it comes to writing, speaking, or thinking about the new economy. He has just released a CD-ROM, "Tom Peters' Career Survival Guide" (Houghton Mifflin interactive). Rob Walker contributed the brand profile sidebars.




 
 
Picture
This article was written by Lindsey Pollak from LinkedIn and appeared on the LinkedIn blog on
June 28, 2013

Happy 4th of July!!


No matter how long you’ve been out of school, June calls up memories of the first glorious days of summer vacation. For me, that meant lazing in the sun reading a great book.

As I’ve grown older, summer still feels like the season of reading. And that doesn’t necessarily mean a straw bag full of “beach reads,” like suspense novels and fashion magazines (although there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few of those). Summer can be a great time to fill your brain with business, particularly if you’re involved in a job hunt.

Reading can help your job hunt and career in numerous ways:

  • Reading books, articles and news related to your industry will keep your skills and knowledge sharp, and help you to feel and sound “in the know” at networking events and during other professional interactions. As Harry Truman once said, “leaders are readers.”
  • Reading insights from successful people and business experts may spark new thinking or a jolt of inspiration about your career planning or job hunting tactics.
  • Reading helps you discover great content to share with people in your LinkedIn network. This builds your relationships with the connections who see your updates and provides opportunities for people to keep you in mind when they hear about jobs in your field. (p.s. If you post an article that would really resonate with one person in particular, LinkedIn now offers the ability to “mention” a LinkedIn connection in any post you share by typing in that person’s name. For example, “Check out what Bill Gates said he has learned from Warren Buffett — you will particularly enjoy this, Jane Smith!”)
To help you achieve these outcomes and others, here is your unofficial LinkedIn summer reading list, including four books, two blog posts and an ongoing daily assignment:

Summer Reading List for Job Seekers from LinkedIn

Recommended Books:

Linchpin by Seth Godin

This book by marketing guru Seth Godin gives unique advice on how to view your career in today’s constantly changing world. According to Godin, a linchpin is “somebody in an organization who is indispensable, who cannot be replaced—her role is just far too unique and valuable.” Read this book to discover how to position yourself as a “linchpin” to potential employers.

The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, both successful start-up entrepreneurs, advise individuals to treat their careers like start-up businesses. This means investing in yourself, taking risks and doing quite a bit of hustling. Read this book to rethink your overall career strategy and learn how to build a professional network that will help you make things happen.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

According to “introvert spokesperson” Susan Cain, there are far more introverts in the world than you might think. You may be one yourself and, no matter what field you work in, you will certainly have introverts in your network and as colleagues in your next job. In fact, you’re probably interacting with introverted recruiters and interviewers as we speak. In this book you’ll learn what makes introverts tick, and most important, how to communicate better across personality types.

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

Never Eat Alone, written almost a decade ago, is still my most recommended book on professional networking. Ferrazzi gives specific, actionable tips based on his own relationship building success.  If you don’t quite “get” how to network or you never know exactly what to say when you want to reach out to someone, then this is the book for you.

Recommended Blog Posts:

Deepak Chopra’s 2013 Commencement Speech

No matter what year you graduated, Chopra’s “seven skills of self-awareness” will inspire you to be true to yourself and forge a career that has meaning to you. Beyond feeling inspired, why not post a quote from this or another notable commencement address to your LinkedIn profile as a way to engage your connections? It’s a simple and positive way to stay on people’s radar screens (Keith Ferrazzi calls it “pinging”) without directly mentioning your job search.

My Best Mistake: Writing the Un-cover Letter by J.T. O’Donnell

When it comes to job hunting, sometimes you have to trust your gut and take a chance. That’s why I love this post from LinkedIn Influencer J.T. O’Donnell, about how she broke the rules of cover letter writing — her “big mistake” — and landed her dream job. Scan through other posts in LinkedIn’s “My Best Career Mistake” channel as well, not only because they share helpful advice, but also because they will remind you to take risks and welcome failure. Risk and failure can often lead to the greatest moves of your career.

Ongoing Reading Assignment:

My final reading recommendation is to continually expose yourself to professional information and ideas that have absolutely nothing to do with your career or industry. Why? Because it will make you different. Because an article about healthcare could spark a truly unique idea in your mind about your field of architecture. Because exposing yourself to a range of topics gives you a different perspective from other job seekers and a much wider world of opportunity. A quick and easy way to do this is by subscribing to LinkedIn’s Editor’s Picks, which includes smart content on a variety of subjects.

Bonus Tip

When it comes to any blog posts you read on LinkedIn or elsewhere, be sure to check out the comments beneath them as well. While viewing the comments of other readers, you may come across someone you want to reach out to, perhaps a recruiter or another professional in your industry. As a LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium subscriber, you can do this through an InMail message.

When you reach out, be sure to relate your message to the article where you found the person’s comment. This will help establish rapport and lessen the potential awkwardness of reaching out to a stranger. Check out the person’s full LinkedIn profile as well to see if you have anything else in common. And then write something like this:

Jeff,

I really enjoyed the comment you posted on the article, “9 Business Books that Will Change Your Life.” I completely agree that some magazine articles and blog posts have changed my career more than books. Your comment led me to your profile and I discovered that we are both former IBM-ers. Would you be willing to connect here on LinkedIn and perhaps chat by phone sometime about the mobile tech market? I am in the midst of a job search and would value your career advice as someone with such a successful path and similar background.

Thanks for considering my request,

Lindsey

It’s also, of course, a wise move to comment on LinkedIn Today articles yourself. You never know when a recruiter or contact might reach out because he or she was impressed by a smart observation or suggestion you shared. Leaders are readers… and they are writers, too!


 
 
Picture
A version of this article by Jane E Broday appeared in The New York Times on 06/18/2013 with the headline: Harming Our Health With Eyes Wide Open.Cheating Ourselves of Sleep.  It clearly demonstrates how important sleep is to our health.  Particularly when you are in job search mode, you need to exude confidence which requires a healthy lifestyle.

Think you do just fine on five or six hours of shut-eye? Chances are, you are among the many millions who unwittingly shortchange themselves on sleep.

Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.

According to sleep specialists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, among others, a number of bodily systems are negatively affected by inadequate sleep: the heart, lungs and kidneys; appetite, metabolism and weight control; immune function and disease resistance; sensitivity to pain; reaction time; mood; and brain function.

Poor sleep is also a risk factor for depression and substance abuse, especially among people with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Anne Germain, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. People with PTSD tend to relive their trauma when they try to sleep, which keeps their brains in a heightened state of alertness.

Dr. Germain is studying what happens in the brains of sleeping veterans with PTSD in hopes of developing more effective treatments for them and for people with lesser degrees of stress that interfere with a good night’s sleep.

The elderly are especially vulnerable. Timothy H. Monk, who directs the Human Chronobiology Research Program at Western Psychiatric, heads a five-year federally funded study of circadian rhythms, sleep strength, stress reactivity, brain function and genetics among the elderly. “The circadian signal isn’t as strong as people get older,” he said.

He is finding that many are helped by standard behavioral treatments for insomnia, like maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding late-in-day naps and caffeine, and reducing distractions from light, noise and pets.

It should come as no surprise that myriad bodily systems can be harmed by chronically shortened nights. “Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies,” said Dr. Michael J. Twery, a sleep specialist at the National Institutes of Health.

Several studies have linked insufficient sleep to weight gain. Not only do night owls with shortchanged sleep have more time to eat, drink and snack, but levels of the hormone leptin, which tells the brain enough food has been consumed, are lower in the sleep-deprived while levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, are higher.

In addition, metabolism slows when one’s circadian rhythm and sleep are disrupted; if not counteracted by increased exercise or reduced caloric intake, this slowdown could add up to 10 extra pounds in a year.

The body’s ability to process glucose is also adversely affected, which may ultimately result in Type 2 diabetes. In one study, healthy young men prevented from sleeping more than four hours a night for six nights in a row ended up with insulin and blood sugar levels like those of people deemed prediabetic. The risks of cardiovascular diseases and stroke are higher in people who sleep less than six hours a night. Even a single night of inadequate sleep can cause daylong elevations in blood pressure in people with hypertension. Inadequate sleep is also associated with calcification of coronary arteries and raised levels of inflammatory factors linked to heart disease. (In terms of cardiovascular disease, sleeping too much may also be risky. Higher rates of heart disease have been found among women who sleep more than nine hours nightly.)

The risk of cancer may also be elevated in people who fail to get enough sleep. A Japanese study of nearly 24,000 women ages 40 to 79 found that those who slept less than six hours a night were more likely to develop breast cancer than women who slept longer. The increased risk may result from diminished secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin. Among participants in the Nurses Health Study, Eva S. Schernhammer of Harvard Medical School found a link between low melatonin levels and an increased risk of breast cancer.

A study of 1,240 people by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland found an increased risk of potentially cancerous colorectal polyps in those who slept fewer than six hours nightly.

Children can also experience hormonal disruptions from inadequate sleep. Growth hormone is released during deep sleep; it not only stimulates growth in children, but also boosts muscle mass and repairs damaged cells and tissues in both children and adults.

Dr. Vatsal G. Thakkar, a psychiatrist affiliated with New York University, recently described evidence associating inadequate sleep with anerroneous diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. In one study, 28 percent of children with sleep problems had symptoms of the disorder, but not the disorder.

During sleep, the body produces cytokines, cellular hormones that help fight infections. Thus, short sleepers may be more susceptible to everyday infections like colds and flu. In a study of 153 healthy men and women, Sheldon Cohen and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University found thatthose who slept less than seven hours a night were three times as likely to develop cold symptoms when exposed to a cold-causing virus than were people who slept eight or more hours.

Some of the most insidious effects of too little sleep involve mental processes like learning, memory, judgment and problem-solving. During sleep, new learning and memory pathways become encoded in the brain, and adequate sleep is necessary for those pathways to work optimally. People who are well rested are better able to learn a task and more likely to remember what they learned. The cognitive decline that so often accompanies aging may in part result from chronically poor sleep.

With insufficient sleep, thinking slows, it is harder to focus and pay attention, and people are more likely to make poor decisions and take undue risks. As you might guess, these effects can be disastrous when operating a motor vehicle or dangerous machine.

In driving tests, sleep-deprived people perform as if drunk, and no amount of caffeine or cold air can negate the ill effects.

At your next health checkup, tell your doctor how long and how well you sleep. Be honest: Sleep duration and quality can be as important to your health as your blood pressure and cholesterol level.





 
 
Picture

Go confidently in the direction 

of your dreams.  
Live the life you have imagined.

-Henry David Thoreau

 
 
Picture
To all the graduates of 2013, we at NorthBridge Career Partners wish you a hearty Congratulations!!

Here’s to your future and to your success!

As you move beyond school and ahead into the world of work, we give you three items of advice:

KNOW YOURSELF:  This pithy expression is attributed to several sages, but most notably to Socrates over 2000 years ago in ancient Greece. In his works, Socrates is known to have said that he could not pursue other activities until he first knew himself.  At NorthBridge, this is the basis of our entire career planning work.  We believe that self-assessment is the critical first step to career success.  Knowing your natural preferences, skills, interests and values is the foundation to a solid career path.

TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE:  Shakespeare coined this in Hamlet as the father Polonius gave his parting words of advice to his son Laertes.  This career advice puts the focus on taking care of yourself, concentrating on what matters to you and what you are good at.  Develop your career plan based on a solid self-knowledge, apply that knowledge to determine what you’d like to do, and then create a strategic plan to get there.  You may want to take a break and consider your options, travel, continue your education, or do something totally different.   Whatever you decide, develop a plan that speaks to you.

JUST DO IT:  The Nike Company popularized these now iconic words to sell sneakers, based on the courage of Nike, the winged Greek goddess of victory.  Now that your education is complete and your career plan is in place, implement it.  In the words of the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Take that step.  This is your time now. 

All the best Class of 2013!


 
 
Picture
by Sara Pacelle

Asking a dozen people to critique your resume, you will inevitably get a dozen different opinions.  I hear this often from my career planning and job seeking clients.  It’s actually quite frustrating to them because the devil is in the details, especially with a resume.  How much information is too much?   Which words have become trite?  How do I manage search engine optimization of my resume?  Should be it chronological or functional?  How do I describe a gap in my employment?  These are all good specific questions and they need to be addressed properly, but, let’s take a step back and make sure we really understand the mission of the resume.

A good resume is a highly condensed yet intriguing marketing piece that broadcasts your achievements and accomplishments and promotes your skills and strengths sufficiently enough to excite the interest of a hiring manager.  The last part is the most important.  You need to get the attention of the stressed out and overworked hiring manager in the deluge of resumes s/he will be reading.  I like to think of a resume like a movie trailer.  Consider yourself sitting in a movie theater, popcorn and Twizzlers in hand, poised to watch a highly-acclaimed film that you have been waiting months to see.  But first, you’re forced to sit through three or four movie trailers of coming attractions. Think about the components of the successful movie trailer that will make you turn to your date and say, “That looks good!”   The trailer just told you the condensed story of a film giving it maximum appeal.  It did its job… to make the viewer want to see the movie.  In the same way, the resume is meant to give a strong impression of how results-driven and accomplished you are so that the hiring manager will pick up the phone and call you.

The most important thing to know about the resume is that it is not the interview.  The resume is what gets you into the interview.  Don’t get bogged down trying to explain everything you did in your jobs.  You can do that in the interview.  Relay the high level points and play to your relevant strengths.  You know what they are, so let your reader know as well. You want to leave the reader with the feeling that you are relevant to them, someone they really want to meet.  You need to indicate an upbeat tone and a likable personality, your character, confidence and competence.  (Be careful not to show arrogance or self-aggrandizement.)   Build your story and keep it going forward, showing how you progressed from one position to the next and how your skillsets increased with each position.  Show your increasing and quantifiable accomplishments (massive explosions) to create emotion and have the reader begging for more.  In the way a movie trailer escalates its action, then abruptly stops, let the reader see your results and achievements, but leave them wondering how you accomplished these things and how you would replicate them in their workplace. 

Like a good succinct movie trailer, a results-driven resume should not be too long.  Keep the energy high with strong, clear language and you will keep the attention of your resume reader.  Doing so will fulfill the purpose of the resume, that is, to get the interview. Like a powerful trailer, the resume should be condensed and succinct but not too short at the risk of not promoting you enough.  A long-winded resume will lose the interest of the reader.

A results-driven resume tells the reader that you are relevant to them and to their organization, that it will be worth their time to talk to you more, and that will get you in the door.