Kimberly C. Kisner


Accelerate Your Job Search with Social Media

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

If you haven’t noticed, social media has “grown up.” It’s one of the most effective ways to get your qualifications and resume in front of as many corporate eyes as possible. In addition to helping you expand the reach of your search, social media is also cost effective, measured only by the time you invest. Social media accelerates your job search exponentially, helping you reach far more people than traditional networking.

If you think about the concepts of branding and marketing yourself, social media is the ultimate tool for building your brand. You select what you want to highlight for potential employers and you control what values are emphasized in your social media presence. Think of social media as a huge networking opportunity and your online profile doubles as your calling card and your resume! Gaining more exposure creates additional opportunities. Social media is the key to opening the door to the hidden job market.

Engaging in a quick Internet search can yield hundreds of social networks, online communities, blogs, websites, and discussion groups for job seekers. In addition to posting on job boards and working with recruiters, social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can significantly accelerate your job search. In case you aren’t convinced about the importance of social media in your job search, let’s examine a few specific benefits:

  1. Use of social media sites demonstrates your knowledge, skill, and familiarity with the capabilities of this current technology.
  2. Social media helps create your personal “brand.” You will become “known” to the individuals who read your profile without ever having submitted a formal resume.
  3. Social media is the ultimate networking tool, putting you in touch with individuals who are in a position to make hiring decisions about jobs that may never get posted. Better yet, an interest connection might be spurred to create a job for you based on your unique qualifications.
  4. Any of these sites can help you gain information about companies or industries of interest to you, making you an even more valuable candidate as you expand your knowledge and become known for your contributions.

Once you create a profile for yourself, you have to pay attention to it. You can’t expect the world to immediately come looking for you! The more active you are in social media networks, the more you establish a positive reputation for yourself. Don’t become discouraged if you don’t get immediate results. Building a professional network takes time.

You may want to avoid personal chit-chat entirely on any of your professional contact networks. It becomes all too tempting to post unflattering photos or unprofessional opinions about old bosses, especially if you don’t feel as though anyone is watching your Facebook page anyway. Make sure you are patient and professional while building up your network. When an employer decides to take action, you can be certain the hiring manager will run a Google search or review your social media pages. You don’t want an offhand comment or angry post to come back and haunt you later. Be smart and make your profiles and tweets work for you!

Most sites, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, each have different limits on the amount of information and the format in which you post. LinkedIn is designed primarily for professional contact, so you have sections for education, work experience, and your intent for setting up the profile.

Twitter has the most restrictive space limit. At 140 characters, you may not think you can say much about yourself. But if you think of your texting habits, considerable information can in fact be included in very little space. This space becomes even more valuable than the traditional resume space. Provide contact information and a few keywords that define your response to an insightful discussion, your professional skills, or current professional trends.

Finally, there is Facebook. Most people think of Facebook as a personal site, but if you research a bit, you will see just how many businesses are using Facebook to strengthen their online presence as well. Have you been asked to “friend” a corporation? Those requests are a testament to the power of Facebook for professional use and profit. Put its power to work for you by focusing on your credentials rather than your leisure activities. Include memberships in professional associations, a professional summary, pertinent work experience, or cutting edge professional development activities.

As part of job sites, LinkedIn, and Facebook, be sure to take advantage of the “Groups” areas to target contacts in your industry and demonstrate expertise. Be an active participant in discussions. Support other members and build relationships. The online community can be an integral part of your network and accelerate your job search exponentially.

As noted, maintaining a social media network takes just as much effort, consideration, and attention as face-to-face networking. Once you have your profile established, take some time to explore additional features of the sites and reach out to others. Experiment with social media and watch your job search take off!

 

Interview Dress for Success

By Katrina Belda, LiveCareer

What determines a great first impression at an interview? Believe it or not, your appearance may matter as much as your qualifications. There is no “golden rule” for interview attire because dress standards vary across all industries, but these simple guidelines can help you avoid a fashion fail that can cost you the job.

Before you start scrounging through your closet, consider the industry of the job you’re applying for. Depending on industry, you ultimately have three options when it comes to dressing for the interview.

1. Corporate Dress: Dress code is serious business for traditional industries such as law, medicine, government, finance and accounting. For job interviews in these careers, follow these dress tips:

 

  • A conservative business suit is almost always expected.
  • For men, stick with a dark suit with a neutral color shirt and tie—don’t forget matching socks!
  • For women, a pantsuit or skirt suit is usually expected—tights included.
  • Avoid flashy colors and loud prints

2. Business Casual: This term can be translated many ways for more creative industries such as advertising, architecture, media, cosmetology, academics, and restaurant, which have a more relaxed approach to dress code, but still maintain the professional look.

 

  • For women, this means wear a conservative shirt or sweater with dress pants or skirt. If you have a dress that falls around the knee, this is acceptable as well.
  • For men, stick to a collared shirt with dress pants or khakis–no tie required.
  • Creative touches for companies in these industries are acceptable, so feel encouraged to make yourself stand out with small touches that reveal your personality.

 

3. Casual Attire: Don’t be misled with this term! When used in the context of a job, “casual” doesn’t mean ripped jeans and wrinkled shirt. Casual is acceptable in fairly laid-back industries such as construction, retail (depending on the type of store), automotive and trades, and personal services such as nannies, personal trainers, tutors, cleaners and caretakers.

 

  • This is the only time jeans are acceptable, but make sure they aren’t ripped, baggy, or extremely old and faded.
  • For women, if you go with jeans, wear a nice blouse or sweater to dress it up a little.
  • For men, a polo shirt or crisp oxford is necessary if you wear jeans. Going casual shouldn’t take away from looking neat and clean.

When in doubt, remember these basic rules across all industries:

 

  • Iron, iron, iron! Winkles can kill any outfit, whether it cost a million bucks or not.
  • Men- always wear closed toes shoes. Sneakers are acceptable only if they fit the nature of the job.
  • Be minimal with perfume or cologne; you never know what allergies you could trigger.

Still nervous about looking out of place? It’s perfectly acceptable to ask the hiring manager about the company’s general dress policy when you are first contacted for your interview.

 

Do You Have 20/20 Vision?

The problem with most of us is that we lack vision. With no vision there is no future for you.  But I have a “dream” Kim – let’s think about that. When you sleep what happens? Most of us dream. Having a dream is not enough. A vision is what’s going to help catapult you into the future that you are meant to have. Often times we do have a vision but we are afraid to see that vision through for 2 reasons:

1. We are afraid of what others might say about us.

2. We are afraid that we are too old.

I was talking to someone the other day and they were telling me that they can finally “see” what it is that they are supposed to be doing. They wanted to start their own business. Now, I must say that honestly I didn’t really think that the business that they wanted to go into was going to be a good idea – but I never said that outloud. Why? Because who am I to tell someone that they can’t or that they shouldn’t do something. I didn’t want to discourage them from making their “vision” come true.  I know that when I received the vision to write my book – some folks didn’t think that I could do it and tried to discourage me. Now, I’m in the coffee business and I have some naysayers.  Now, if I let those individuals discourage me from what I believe is my “vision” from God then I would not be writing on my blog today.  You MUST hold on tight to your vision regardless of who tries to discourage you. All you do is say, “Thanks for your opinion- and watch my dust as I roll on by.” (smile).

The second point – We are afraid that we are too old…this is so true. When I was 30 I decided to go back to grad school to get my MBA. A part of me thought I was too old- but I had a strong desire within me to continue my education so that I could make myself more marketable in the work force. Now, if I had allowed those thoughts to take over my vision- I would not have graduated in 2006 with my MBA-Marketing.  And to even get more personal-I have had this vision to become a wife and mother.  And I know that I will be a wife and mother- regardless of my age. Sure, I’ve had people tell me “Kim you are getting older-you need to hurray up if you want kids.”  If you read the bible- do you remember the story about Sarah? She was very old and God promised her a child and said that she would give conceive. She of course laughed at God and did not believe him. But God promised her and he delivered  -and even though she was old – Sarah did indeed conceive and give birth to a son.  So…I’m not worried nor concerned because my vision for my future is clear and I know that my vision comes from God and I know that I may be a bit older..but I’m going to hold tight to my vision because  I have faith and I know that God is going to bless me with everything that he promised me.  The same thing will happen to you. Hold tight to your vision and don’t let it go for anything. Don’t allow others or your age discourage you. The vision will be fulfilled - you just have to have patience and faith – trust me!  Hold on – your time is coming!