Tag Archives: Networking

5 Ways to Power-Up Your Networking in 2013

Finding a job in today’s economy can be tough, but there are opportunities if you know where to look. And the best way to find these opportunities is not through online job boards, the classifieds, or employment agencies– they are found by networking.  A survey from the top end job search site ExecuNet reveals that 80% of all jobs are obtained via networking.

Hesitant Networkers

Unfortunately, many job seekers are hesitant to take advantage of networking because they’re afraid of being seen as pushy, annoying, or self-serving.  But networking isn’t about using other people or aggressively promoting yourself—it’s about building relationships. Tapping the hidden job market will take more planning and nerve than searching online, but it’s much more effective. Adopting a networking lifestyle—a lifestyle of connecting and helping others in good times and bad—will help you find the right job, make valuable connections in your chosen field, and stay focused and motivated during your job search.  Power-up your 2013 networking with these 5 tips from some of the best networkers I know.

Tip One: Figure out what you want before you start networking

Networking is most effective when you have specific employer targets and career goals. It’s hard to get leads with a generic “Let me know if you hear of anything” request. You may think that you’ll have better job luck if you leave yourself open to all the possibilities, but the reality is this “openness” creates a black hole that sucks all of the networking potential out of the connection.  A generic networking request for a job is worse than no request at all, because you can lose that networking contact and opportunity.  Asking for specific information, leads, or an interview is much more focused and easier for the networking source. If you’re having trouble focusing your job search, you can turn to close friends and family members for help, but avoid contacting more distant people in your network until you’ve set clear goals.

 Tip Two: Want to expand your network? —- Reach out to the people you already know

You may think that you don’t know anyone who can help you with your job search. But you know more people than you think, and there’s a very good chance that at least a few of these people know someone who can give you career advice or point you to a job opening. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!

Tip Three: Make a list of the people you know

Your network is bigger than you think it is. It includes all of your family members, friends, of neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, and even casual acquaintances. Start writing down names and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the list grows. Think about people you know from former jobs, high school and college, church, your child’s school, the gym, social media, or your neighborhood. Also think about people you’ve met through your close connections: your sister’s co-worker; your best friend’s boss; your college roommate’s spouse; friends of your parents; your uncle’s business partner. Don’t forget to include people like your doctor, landlord, accountant, dry cleaner, or yoga instructor…..Yes, you do have a job network, and it’s more powerful than you think.

Tip Four: Reach out to your network

All the connections in the world won’t help you find a job if no one knows about your situation. Once you’ve drawn up your list, start making contact with the people in your network. Let them know that you’re looking for a job. Be specific about what kind of work you’re looking for and ask them if they have any information or know anyone in a relevant field. Don’t assume that certain people won’t be able to help. You may be surprised by who they know.

Tip Five: Improve your communication skills

Effective communication is a cornerstone of job networking. As simple as communication may seem, much of what we try to communicate—and others try to communicate to us—gets misunderstood. Effective communication combines a set of learned skills, such as: attentive listening, recognizing and using nonverbal cues, managing stress in the moment, and understanding your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with. Toastmasters is the best place I know of where you can both enhance your communication skills and build a network.  Go to www.Toastmasters.org to find a club near you.

The Bottom Line: Focus on building relationships

Networking is a give-and-take process that involves making connections, sharing information, and asking questions. It’s a way of relating to others, not a technique for getting a job or a favor. You don’t have to hand out your business cards on street corners, cold call everyone on your contact list, or work a room of strangers. All you have to do is reach out. It may take a while but having a networking mindset will pay off.   Good luck with your 2013 networking efforts.

 

Because There was “No” Room

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

We all know the story of Jesus’ birth as told in Luke 2:1-20.   The Roman emperor Augustus ordered all the people to be counted in a census.  As part of that count, all males had to return to their ancestral homes.  Joseph, a descendant of King David, traveled from his home in Nazareth to Bethlehem with his pregnant fiancée Mary in tow.  While in Bethlehem, the time for baby to be born came.  With the town teeming with people for the census, lodging was not available.  The only place Joseph could find for the birth was a manger “because there was no room at the inn.”

“The No’s” 

The word “No” is a constant in the lives of those seeking employment.  Think of the many times and many ways you have experienced “The “No’s” during you job search.

…”No – We don’t have a job for you.”

…”No – You are under qualified.”

…”No – You are over qualified.”

Relentless and persistent, “The No’s” can sap our strength, our confidence and our will during the job search.  Learning how to take “The No’s” with the confidence, grace and humility demonstrated by Mary and Joseph that day in Bethlehem can make all the difference in successfully weathering the “The No’s” in the job search storm.

3 Ways to Fight “The No”

Career expert Molly Cain, writing in Forbes Magazine, says that with the employment rate hovering around 7.5%, competition is at its highest right now, which means there can be lots of reasons you were told “No” about the job.  Molly recommends 3 things that we can do to fight “The No”.

1. Your Resume

Take a look at what you gave your prospective employer. If they’ve got any sort of head on their shoulders, they can typically read through lies, they can read through “elaboration” and they can read where you’ve panicked and tried to insert just about anything to lengthen the word count. Consider these resume “No No’s:”

  • Sticking your entire 20 year career on 1 page – Forget what your college career counselor told you – 2 or more pages is commonplace and is expected.
  • Failing to adequately explain breaks in employment – Due to the Great Recession, long breaks in employment is the new normal.  In my e-book the Smart Job Search, I show how savvy job seekers use the resume to highlight job productive things they have been doing while out of work.  List volunteering, freelancing, classes taken and other industrious stuff you have done while you have been unemployed.
  • Nonprofessional email address – An email address saluting your favorite Justin Bieber song is charming.  However, the email address on your resume should reflect the seriousness that you are bringing to the job search.   So while it is much more boring, use your name in your email address, such as: marbenbland@gmail.com.  It will be far more effective.

2. Your cover letter

Take a fresh look at the cover letter you sent.  Does it have typos?  Was it addressed “To whom it may concern?  Or, was it not captivating enough to get perspective employers to open the resume attachment?   I have an admission to make– I hate cover letters–they are filled with potential to bite you–but we have to do them.   Alison Doyle, the brilliant job search and employment expert, says that there are 3 general types of cover letters:

  • The application letter which responds to a known job opening
  • The prospecting letter which inquires about possible positions
  • The networking letter which requests information and assistance in your job search

Go to Alison’s website: www.about.com/carrers for examples of the cover letters listed above. I did. and now I have taken the “No” factor out of writing cover letters.

3. Your Networking

Are you getting “No’s” when submitting resumes to online job postings?  Well, you are not alone.   With nearly over 1,000 job seekers for any one job, it is easier to win Powerball than to get a call back from an online posting.   Now, I’m not trying to dissuade you from posting for jobs online, however a survey from the top end job search site ExecuNet reveals that 80% of all jobs are obtained via networking.   The vast majority of job openings are never advertised; they’re filled by word of mouth. That’s why networking is the best way to find a job.  Unfortunately, many job seekers are hesitant to take advantage of networking because they’re afraid of being seen as pushy, annoying, or self-serving.  But networking isn’t about using other people or aggressively promoting yourself—it’s about building relationships. Tapping the hidden job market may take more planning and nerve than searching online, but it’s much more effective. Adopting a networking lifestyle—a lifestyle of connecting and helping others in good times and bad—will help you find the right job, make valuable connections in your chosen field, and stay focused and motivated during your job search.  Several of my best networking friends have given me these 3 tips to pass along:

  • Figure out what you want before you start networking – Networking is most effective when you have specific employer targets and career goals. It’s hard to get leads with a generic “Let me know if you hear of anything” request. Asking for specific information, leads, or an interview is much more focused and easier for the networking source.
  • Improve your communication skills – Effective communication is a cornerstone of job networking. As simple as communication may seem, much of what we try to communicate—and others try to communicate to us—gets misunderstood. Effective communication combines a set of learned skills, such as: attentive listening, recognizing and using nonverbal cues, managing stress in the moment, and understanding your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with. Toastmasters is the best place I know of where you can both enhance your communication skills and build a network.  Go to www.Toastmasters.org to find a club near year. 
  • Focus on building relationships – Networking is a give-and-take process that involves making connections, sharing information, and asking questions. It’s a way of relating to others, not a technique for getting a job or a favor. You don’t have to hand out your business cards on street corners, cold call everyone on your contact list, or work a room of strangers. All you have to do is reach out.

What are you saying “Yes” to?

Clearly as a job searcher we are going to hear the word “No”…. repeatedly. However, we have plenty to say “Yes” to and those “Yeses” can be parlayed into a job.  Your days of unemployment should not be idle time. There are only so many episodes of “The Price Is Right” or “Sports Center highlights” one can endure before your mind turns to mush.  This may sound strange, but your time of unemployment should be a joyous time, a time of personal growth, a time of rejuvenation, a time to get your groove back, or a time to discover a new groove, or a time to give your groove to others.

In my e-book The Smart Job Search, I profiled Leslie Ross, a truck driver by trade, but out of work due to the post-traumatic stress caused by an accident where a young mother was killed.  Leslie, who was not at fault for the accident, couldn’t drive any more.  However, she had a broad and impressive, almost encyclopedic, knowledge of topics that ranged from the Dalai Lama to the origins of Honky Tonk, gained from hours listening books on CD’s in the cab of her 18-wheeler. After a year of job searching “No’s”, Leslie said “Yes” to a volunteer gig at her local library reference desk.   In the weeks that followed, Leslie assisted a struggling author with an obscure factoid from a book that she heard on an early morning drive from Modesto to L.A.  She helped a young student with a term paper about molecular biology, a topic that Leslie happened to hear about one day while listening to the leading expert on the subject interviewed on a late-night, call-in show as she drove from Destin, Florida to High Point, North Carolina. And, she astonished an executive with her insightful knowledge about his company gained through years of overhearing conversations at the loading dock of his company’s main factory.

Saying “Yes” to the volunteering proved to be Leslie’s eureka moment. She didn’t need to volunteer for the library…. she needed to work for it. Leslie the trucker reinvented herself into Leslie the librarian.  She enrolled in the library science program at the University of Pittsburgh. There, she thrived in the environment of knowledge, discovery, and arcane facts, and in two years, this former trucker from Indiana became a librarian.  Today, you can find her in the streets of Indianapolis serving the city’s neighborhoods.  With her newfound confidence, Leslie, the librarian, has started driving big rigs again. Only this time, instead of the books being on CD’s, they lined the shelves of her new 16-wheeler — the city’s bookmobile.  Leslie, our hard-driving, trucking librarian, found her new gig through the magic of saying “Yes.”

You have experienced enough “No’s” in your job search…..what are you saying “Yes” to?

The Bottom Line – Jesus said “Yes” to us

The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

Luke 2:8-11 NLT

Jesus’s birth in a manger was “No” accident.  He was born in these humble circumstances to demonstrate to us that the word “No” should not deter us.  If the king of kings, our Lord and Savior was told “No”, what should being told “No” mean to us?  Instead, Jesus said “Yes” to us. He said “Yes” to our sins so we can live lives of significance, lives of dignity, ….and “Yes” lives of work in service to Him.

My gift to you in this joyous season is the hope you will be like Jesus and say “Yes” to not being defeated by the “No’s”

Merry Christmas

10 Money Saving Tips for Savvy Travers

I travel a lot and as a small business owner I am always looking for ways  to save money while providing a level of conform that will allow me to arrive at my destination refreshed and ready to do my best.   Over the years I have met some really savvy travelers who have devised some brilliant and innovative ways to stretch a buck.   You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to save money, all you have to be is a traveler with a desire to get the best for less.  If you are that kind of traveler here are 10 money saving tips from my savvy traveling friends.

Food

Sure saving money on airfare is great but how often is saving money on food as we travel is  overlooked. Our first 3 tips can help stretch your dollars while having a tasty dining experience. 

1. Book Accommodations That Serve Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one you shouldn’t skip to save money. Before booking your accommodation, make sure they include breakfast in the rate. That way, you can fill up on free food and eat lighter later in the day.

2. Plan Your Meals – Figure out where you will be and eat before you actually go out. This is not just good for your wallet, but your stomach too since you will probably find economical restaurants that tastes great.

3. Stay At Accommodations With Kitchens
Grocery shopping and cooking your own meals is not only healthy, but also budget-friendly. It’s also fun to discover new grocery items you don’t have at home. Even if you don’t want to cook every meal, incorporating it into your eating itinerary will save you a lot of money.

4.Pack Your Own Food For The Airport & The Flight
Let’s face it airports have mastered the food business, the selections even in the small regional airports are rather good as the major fast food players, Subway, McDonald’s and alike are now feeding travelers. However, the prices for that Big Mac or foot long sub are typically 10-20% higher than their off-airport locations.   The TSA will allow passengers to bring sealed packages of store bought and homemade food.  Clearly your selection will be better and you will save a ton of money.  Save big money on water by bringing your own TSA approved empty bottles and simply filling them at airport water fountains.

Transportation    

We all know about Expedia, Priceline and other online booking sites for travel.  Here are 4 tips that can save money as we go beyond the box of air travel.

5. Night Train and Flights – If the transportation is going to be long, consider traveling at night to save money on accommodation and many hours of time. Many people have a tough time sleeping on these, but it’s all mental. Once you get used to it, you will be able to have a good night’s rest.

6. Take the Slower Transportation – If flying is too short for you to take advantage of sleeping while traveling, take a bus ride. When you are sleeping, you won’t mind that the bus ride is 7 hours.

7. Car Rental Coverage – Some insurance and many credit cards have car rental coverage so take advantage of those when you rent a car. All you have to do is pay with the credit card that will cover you. (Just make sure you decline the coverage from the rental company when they ask)

8. Gas Up The Rental Car – If you are renting a car and need fuel, just fill her up with regular gas since that’s what the car rental company uses anyway. Also, decline those services that fills the gas tank up for you. Even though it seems like the advertised price is cheap, they charge you for a full tank of gas regardless of how much is left in there when you bring the car back.

Discounts

The world of travel discounts are there for the taking.  Tips 9 and 10 are about finding and taking those discounts.

9. Reward Points – Even if you aren’t a frequent traveler, sign up for those reward programs since you might qualify eventually. It’s all free anyway and if you finally get enough points, you can get always get something free.

10. Age, Student and Membership Discounts – Many attractions like theme parks, museums and others have discounts for senior, children or students. If you are traveling, remember to take your ID and membership cards (e.g. AAA card) with you that might qualify you for these.

Bonus Tip: Ask

You will be amazed by the upgrades, discounts and freebies that can be obtained by simply asking.  However, be aware that the key to asking… and then receiving is to be nice.  I urge you to be nice to the front desk clerk, the person behind the rental car counter and always the airline employee.   These folks have a difficult job and they deal daily with a fair share of gruff.   A smiling, pleasant and understanding attitude from you will go a long way toward the savings you deserve.     

The Bottom Line

I have always viewed travel even business travel as a wonderful adventure; however the adventure can be so much more fun when you are saving money.  Save travels and have fun saving.

P.S. I am always looking for ways to save money during my travels and to pass those money saving tips to others.  Join the fun send me your tips to me at marben@marbenbland.conm .  I will pass them along in my next travel tip blog.   

When not traveling Marben Bland is the CEO of The Marben Bland Group a consulting firm focused on high-performance leadership, career coaching and business innovation.  Send your comments to marben@marbenbland.com

 

5 Guidelines for creating almost perfect email subject lines

Ah subject lines…

Those less than ten-word phrases that can entice your potential reader to actually chose your email out of the long list of email in the inbox.

Ah subject lines… aren’t they a joy to create?

I wish I could tell you that somewhere out there is the perfect subject line, one that could ensure your emails are opened.  However, I can tell you that creating almost perfect subject lines is possible and it starts with understanding certain guidelines about your readers 5 guidelines to be exact.

1. People do NOT like to have their time wasted

I don’t need to tell you how much people value their time. When it comes to your emails, you have at most, only a few minutes to get your message across. When it comes to your subject line, you have only a few seconds to capture their attention. It’s no surprise then that subject lines with less than 50 characters have open rates 12.5% higher than those with 50 or more, and click-through rates are 75% higher.

2. People won’t act unless told to do so

Before sending your email, stop and ask yourself: What action do I want the recipient to take?

Keep in mind your subject line will be the first impression you’re email has on your reader.   Making the subject it your first call-to-action will improve the likelihood of your email being opened and that action being taken.

3. People respond to numbers

Numbers help quantify any message and put the content people are receiving into terms they understand. Whether it’s a percentage (Learn how to grow your Facebook fan base by 400%) or a list (10 steps to getting more friends on Facebook) or a monetary value (How one business made $5,000 from marketing on Facebook)—numbers can take a complex problem like getting better results on Facebook and present it in a way people will respond to.

4. People are more likely to act when they feel a sense of urgency

Please do not take this as a call to add “ACT NOW!” or “LIMITED TIME OFFER!” to every one of your subject lines. But do take it as a call to consider using urgency to invigorate your customer base. This is especially true if you’re running a promotion, having a sale, or trying to drive attendance to an upcoming event. In these situations, the difference between using a subject line like: “Our annual end of summer sale is next week” or “Only 5 days until our end of summer sale begins” can be huge. One tells people you’re having a sale and the other tells people you’re having a sale and they better start getting ready.

5. People care more about the sender than the message

While the content of your email and the design of your subject line are important—nothing is more important than the relationship the recipient has with the sender (that’s you!). According to a recent Constant Contact study, 64% of people open emails because of the organization it is from; compared with 47% of people opening emails because of what is in the subject line.

Want the best results? Tell people who the email is from in the subject line.

Here are three ways to do that using my fictional business, Pinkham’s Pies:

[Pinkham’s Pies] We’re sharing our secret apple pie recipe

A secret pie recipe from Pinkham’s Pies

Pinkham’s Pies News: Our secret apple pie recipe revealed

The Bottom Line

Your e-mail competes with; other personal e-mails, e-mail marketing communications, work e-mail and those always welcomed joke emails!!!   To be heard above the noise your subject line must set you apart but at the same time you have to establish a connection with your readers that will compel them to open your email just because it is from you.  Ah those subject lines!!!!!

Can you really find a job on Facebook?

Can you really find a job on Facebook?

While LinkedIn represents a pure play on next generation online recruiting, Facebook is instead seeding numerous markets. Facebook has massive user activity and social data, but is still relegated to personal use and content sharing. Everyone knows that Facebook will look to disrupt major online marketplaces (recruiting, auctions, eCommerce, search) etc… but for right now, it seems much more focused on acquiring users and building traffic.

Facebook itself has not focused on recruiting, which leaves a lucrative white space open to technology startups. Recruiting technology companies are fighting to gain market share and traction before either: A. Facebook develops its own recruiting technology or B. Facebook entirely concedes professional networking to LinkedIn.

Technology companies approach recruiting with Facebook in very different ways. Each of these five types of technology have been receiving heavy interest and investment lately:

  • Social distribution: Recruiting technology that focuses on delivering the job through a normal channel, such as a career jobsite or job board, but then enables social distribution through Facebook and other services. These companies use the social graph of the employees at the company recruiting. For example, a job is posted through the company website and then “pushed” out through the company Facebook page and individual employee accounts for magnified and focused distribution.
  • Metadata Layering: Facebook has tons of personal data, but for professional data, it’s about as useful as eharmony. Entire companies are springing up based on the Facebook social graph, which focus on overlaying additional professional data (or metadata) on top of Facebook. These services trust that Facebook will be the de facto standard for user authentication on the web – all that is needed to recruit with Facebook is to add a professional contextual layer.
  • Recruitment Ad Distribution: Facebook is an incredibly efficient advertising platform. Services such as Facebook sponsored stories “socialize” advertisements through the endorsement of friends. These personal ads coming from a user’s own friends seem like an ideal platform for job referrals and recruitment marketing. Some recruiting technology companies have focused on Facebook advertising – delivering efficient ways to measure recruitment metrics, spend, and channel performance.
  • Facebook Page Optimization: Most large companies have begun using their Facebook page as a primary vehicle for branding and company communication. Delivering employment branding and actual jobs through the Facebook page is an obvious strategy – but one that requires expertise that most HR departments don’t have internally. Some recruiting technology companies have focused on the delivery of optimized Facebook pages for recruitment: improving employment brand, measuring engagement, building fans, and efficiently serving geo-specific jobs.
  • Talent Communities: Facebook provides an ideal way to build highly focused and engaged groups of people. However, it’s a bit harder to engage a large group in a systematized way with recruitment campaigns. Additionally, Facebook provides administrators of pages and groups with little user data. Some companies are focused on methods and technology to build large pools of focused talent to meet the recruitment needs of clients.

The potential market for recruitment on the word’s most popular website is obviously staggering. Investment dollars are flocking to support technology startups that promise efficiency of recruiting with Facebook. The incredible success of LinkedIn’s IPO will no doubt increase venture capital interest in social recruitment technology.

The Bottom Line

Unless Facebook itself becomes a job board, the opportunity for startups to leverage its massive social graph for recruiting is clear. Of course, it is not a zero sum game – more than one technological method for recruiting with Facebook may gain traction. Additionally, if any one particular startup emerges as the clear winner, they may include all of these types of services in their products.   Smart Job Searchers should center their social media job finding activities to LinkedIn until a Facebook solution comes online.

3 Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2012

Graduation 2012: Is it the most depressing time of the year?

This year nearly two million graduates will be vying for a limited number of jobs. A full-time salary with benefits sounds great however; few new grads will land one. A recent report from Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession found that just one in two college graduates earning diplomas during the years 2006 to 2011 is now employed full-time. And only 60 percent of 2011 graduates employed full-time are working in jobs that require four-year degrees.

Many of the nation’s leading newspapers paint an even bleaker picture for the class of 2012

High Student Loan Debt – USA Today

The average student debt load tops $25,000 in the U.S., while the job market for recent graduates continues to struggle. More than 95 U.S. colleges report that their 2010 graduates — the most recent data available — owed on average more than $35,000, and 73 colleges reported that more than 90% of the 2010 class had student loan debt, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt.

Underemployed – The Baltimore Sun

An analysis by researchers at Northeastern University in Boston estimates that last year, about 38 percent, or 760,000, of the 2 million employed young graduates with bachelor’s degrees were “Underemployed” — working jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.
Is this really the most depressing time of the year?

With all of this bad news no wonder some consider college graduation normally one of the happiest times for hard working graduates and long suffering parents, the most depressing time of the year.

All is not lost

In light of the dismal jobs outlook, high student loan debt and slow economic recovery, all is not lost.  An employer survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), indicates that companies expect to hire 29,237 graduates this year, up 10.2 percent from 2011. Internship offerings are up 8.2 percent from a year ago. Job postings are triple what they were in 2010. The median starting salary for the class of 2012 jumped 4.5 percent to $42,569 from a year ago, the association reported.

 

3 Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2012

Bethy Hardeman who writes on credit, personal finance and the economy for CreditKarma.com, a free credit management website has come up with 3 Smart Job Search tips for the class of 2012.

1. Clean up your online profiles and get networking.

Your future employer can — and probably will — use your social network profiles during the employment screening process. A recent study found that “69 percent of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on content found on his or her social networking profiles.”

The good news is that nearly as many recruiters responded that they have hired a prospect based on his or her positive social media presence. After you’ve cleaned up your social network profiles, start using them to network with companies you want to work for. If you don’t already have one, create a LinedIn profile. LinkedIn is the top network used by recruiters.

2. Perform a financial health check-up.

Now that you know employers might do a credit check, find out where you stand by getting a copy of your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com and your free credit score at CreditKarma.com. For those looming student loan debt repayments, set up an account with ReadyForZero, which helps you prioritize your debt. Lastly, monitor your entire financial profile with a Mint.com account. You’ll be able to set up and adjust your budget based on your typical expenses.

3. Become a volunteer or an intern.

If you can’t find a full-time position right away, bolster your resume with some unpaid work. Students who completed an internship while in college reportedly earn nearly 15 percent more on average than those who did not. Check out VolunteerMatch and InternMatch to find a spot that fits with your schedule and skills set.

The Bottom Line

The Smart Job Searcher knows that graduation is truly one of the best times of the year!  As you receive your degree take your destiny into your own hands.  Yes you are competing in a difficult job market; yes you may have student loan debt and yes the outlook for the future may look depressing. But remember that you’re not alone you have a fabulous support system of your classmates, your college career center even +-your parents.  Use them, lean on them they all have a vested interest in you and want to see you employed.

Are You A Facebook Idiot?

No one wants to be an idiot, especially when it comes to Facebook where there’s the chance for thousands of people, including recruiters and potential employers, to see it.

I have been on Facebook since 2007 and have made my share of mistakes that have made me look like an idiot.  The social media and email marketing experts at Constant Contact recently compiled a list of mistakes that can make you look like an idiot on Facebook.  And so, as a public service, the Smart Job Blog presents the Top 5 Things That Can Make You Look An Idiot on Facebook.

Are you doing any of these things?

5. Not monitoring your Facebook Page.  When someone visits your page, are they going to find it full of links from Facebook spammers inviting your fans to college night at the local bar of to click to win a free iPad?

4. Liking your own post. Really?  That’s almost a cry for help. Maybe that’s why no one else is liking it.

3. Posting one thing right after another. Your fns may love you, but long post after post after post in the newsfeed can be a bit much.  Be sure to space out your updatesso there’s a better chance people will engage with them rather than pass them by.

2. Spelling errors. As small as they might be, spelling errors can really hurt your Page’s credibility.  A typo is okay, but lots of typos are not.  Watch for some common misspellings such as there/their/they’re; your/you’re/yore.

1. Not filling out necessary information: location, description, picture, etc. Facebook gives you the opportunity to add detailed information about yourself.  Be sure to fill it out fully so recruiters, hiring managers and that long lost friend that has the perfect lead for a job can find you.  Concerned about privacy?  You should be.  You can set the right balance by simply keeping the information you share on Facebook strictly professional.

Your Turn:  What Facebook idiot moves have you seen?

By no means is our list of idiot moves on Facebook complete.  I look forward to sharing with our readers the idiot Facebook moves you have witnessed.  I will post your responses in next week’s blog.

Bottom Line:  You don’t have to be an idiot on Facebook.  Smart Job Searchers are aware of the importance of a good Facebook image.  So be aware of those things that may make you look like an idiot on Facebook. Are you guilty of doing any of the top 5?  Well, as a Smart Job Searcher, now that you know it may be a good time to stop.