Utilize Your Alumni Network

Job Search Tip: Have you joined your college’s alumni group on LinkedIn? Alumni associations have always been a great resource for job searching; however, it is much more powerful now with LinkedIn. Plus, they are always posting career opportunities.

Try this approach if you haven't yet:

1. See a fellow alum post a job or ask if anyone is hiring in your field.

2. Reach out via LinkedIn private message and ask for time to get on a brief phone call.

3. Don't make it all about the job or your experience, unless they do. Transactional networking is rarely as effective. Ask about their experience at the college, what they studied, what they were involved in, etc. Reminisce together about similar experiences.

4. Once you have established rapport, ask for contact information of the hiring manager or ask to have your resume forwarded directly to that person. Ask if you can use your fellow alum as a referral for the online application. Thank them.

5. Apply for the position & list that person when it asks how you heard about the job.

6. STAY IN CONTACT! This is key! You don't want that person to feel like you were using them. They may be the difference in you getting the job or not.

Stop Asking Entrepreneurs To Work For Free

For those who ask entrepreneurs/freelancers/artists to do work for free, I want you to think about this first.

These people have invested a lot of time, money, and energy into their craft. Many have had sleepless nights wondering if they will be able to pay the bills. Many are still paying back money from investments to get where they are now (school, certifications, coaches).

Asking them to do free work does more damage than you might think, and you effectively:

👎🏼 Cause them to question the value of their work.

👎🏼 Force them to be the bad guy if they can’t or don’t want to.

👎🏼 Take a spot from someone who is willing to pay.

I empathize with anyone who can’t afford help that they need. However, some entrepreneurs can’t afford help that they need because of this problem.

You can almost always offer something in return that isn’t money. Are you good at something they might need? Offer a trade. You could even offer to leave a review or LinkedIn recommendation.

Just remember to treat entrepreneurs the same way you would any business.

Entrepreneur Gold Mine

As an entrepreneur, I am always searching for ways to build my business while keeping my costs low. I recently stumbled into a gold mine of FREE resources. Can you guess what it is?

Drum roll please.......

Your local public library! I think many of us have gotten so caught up in this glamorous world of technology that we forget about places like this.

FREE "Office Space": Don't spend hundreds each month on an office or co-working space if it isn't necessary. Many libraries offer study rooms/meeting rooms where you can work at a desk without distractions. You can also plan meetings with potential clients/collaborators.

FREE Computers & Wi-Fi: If you don't have a computer or laptop, you can use one of theirs. They also have software programs that can be pretty expensive like Microsoft Office & Adobe Creative Suite.

FREE Workshops: Many libraries have educational programming for adults. They host workshops & classes on things like starting a business, computer skills, learning a language, etc.

FREE Books: I know this is pretty obvious, but think about it. How much have you spent on books this year? I know it's over $100 for me.

And... If you have kids, it's the perfect place to keep them distracted while you get work done. There are a ton of activities for kids and teens.

Professional Development Is Not An Option

Professional Development is a key to advancing in your career. Especially with emerging technologies and globalization, it's important that you stay up to date with best practices.

When conducting a job search, make sure you ask what opportunities employers have for professional development. It's the first question I ask employers during interviews. All of the certifications I've earned and conferences I have attended to start my career coaching journey were paid for by my employers ($10K+).

Find ways to advance your skills, while also advancing the work of your employer. Create a proposal, outline the cost, showcase the return on investment. Then once you earn a certification, attend a conference, etc., prove the value added to your employer. Then you continue to build credibility, get approvals easier, and potentially ask for more money.

It's a win-win.

The Process is Important Too...

How you conduct a job search is a great indicator of how you will perform as an employee. Employers take note of this. It's not all about resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn. Be prepared, ask questions, do research, think critically, express gratitude, and work hard!

Stop casting a wide net, and praying for the best. Focus your search on jobs you really want, and go the extra mile for each. This actually takes less time than applying to as many jobs as possible. You can guess which route yields more success.

The same goes for employers. If a hiring process is rushed and unorganized, that could indicate the conditions of the work environment. Are employers sending emails after normal work hours? This could indicate a lack of work/life balance. Red flags should cause you to think, do I even want to work here?

Ask difficult questions at the end of your interview. Stop googling "What questions should I ask at the end of an interview?" What is important to you? If supervisor support is important to you, ask "How have you advocated for your employees in the past? If work/life balance is important, ask "What ways does the company encourage work/life balance for employees?" Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Avoiding Resume Gaps

If you are faced with a challenge that puts you out of work or makes going to work difficult (layoff, quitting your job, pregnancy/newborn, taking care of a sick family member, etc.), try to occupy your free time with something productive.

It doesn't have to be that time consuming either. With access to the internet, it can be very easy to apply your time to something career-focused.

Start a blog - Write consistently about news & updates in your desired field of work. Call leaders at companies you would like to work for & interview them. This can help you build a network for job searching & provide valuable content for your readers.

Take online classes - Find online courses to develop highly desired skills like social media management, digital marketing, & data analysis. Then, add them to your resume's education section, & come back to your professional career even stronger.

Pick up a side hustle - If you work in accounting or finance, try helping people with their taxes. If you work in hospitality, try renting out your extra space with Airbnb or selling meal prep kits. Don't let your skills go to waste.

This shows employers that you used your time wisely & kept up with industry trends during your transition. Plus, you may create something amazing!

Cool Advertising Idea for Freelancers

As an entrepreneur and freelancer, I am always trying to find creative ways to market my services. Because I do a lot of my work from coffee shops and co-working spaces, I decided to use my laptop as a means to advertise.

When I came up with the idea, I searched for days to find a website or printing company that designed custom graphic decals for laptops. Most places were confused when I called and explained what I wanted.

So, I decided to do it myself. I've even decided to offer it as a service!


LinkedIn Tip: Headlines

Your headline doesn't need to be "[Job Title] at [Company]" This is the default, but your LinkedIn profile is yours. It's an opportunity for you to develop your own personal & professional brand. Your experience section will already showcase your title & your current organization.

Think futuristically. Show readers/employers what you can do for them. This is how you can be found when keywords are searched on LinkedIn. After all, many will see your headline before they click on your profile. Show them that it's worth viewing. Who knows? You may even snag some freelance work out of it.

What are your biggest skills? How can you help others?

Let's say you work in a non-profit aimed at helping young girls get more involved in science & technology, and you are great at raising money through fundraising and grant writing.

Instead of listing: "Development Coordinator at Non-Profit Organization"

Try something like: "Youth STEM Advocate | Fundraising Specialist | Grant Writer | I help young girls become the Science & Technology leaders of tomorrow."

Don't get too flashy with weird words and metaphors. It doesn't work for everyone.

Top 10 Resume Mistakes

1. Resume is not updated - set time each month to update your resume. That way, it's less of a daunting task. Stay ready!

2. Physical Address Listed - unnecessary, exposes you to identity theft, potential geographic discrimination.

3. Grammatical/spelling errors - quickest way to get thrown out. Shows lack of attention to detail.

4. Objective Statement - states the obvious. If you're applying for sales jobs. You don't need to say, "Looking for a sales job."

5. Not including keywords from job descriptions - this is the best way to ensure your resume is never seen by an actual person when applying through an ATS.

6. Regurgitating previous job descriptions in Experience bullets - does nothing to show if you're good at your job/did anything well.

7. No achievements - this sets you apart from everyone else & sells your candidacy much better.

8. Formatting inconsistencies - learn to properly use spacing, tabs, bullets, columns, etc.

9. Education at the top - your education is usually just to fulfill a requirement. Place it accordingly.

10. It’s too long - be concise and highlight what is recent, relevant to employers, and powerful.

If one way isn't working, try another...

Last week, I tried calling 8-10 different executive search firms to try and schedule some time for informational interviews or job shadowing opportunities to learn more about working with senior leadership and executive-level clients. I was met with mostly "We don't really do that." or "The consultants don't have time for anything like that." #Fail

So, I went to LinkedIn to try a different approach. I reached out to several of my connections, and many were more than willing to help.

Speaking of... I just got off a great phone call with Jean-Paul Philippe This guy really knows this industry, and he is doing some great things in the Executive Talent Acquisition and Employee Retention space. Connect with him if you need help with either of those.

Other than great industry insights, my takeaways were:

➡️Time mentoring others is never wasted time.

➡️If you don't know, ask.

➡️Continually find ways to prove the success of your work.

➡️If your way isn't working, find another way.

➡️As always, actually connect with your connections.