The skill of developing skills

The skill of developing skills

picture thanks to resumetarget.com

Skills have become one of the most important topics, if not the most, in the education arena, particularly when the world registers the highest education levels in history. Precisely because policymakers realized that more years of schooling did not necessarily translate into more learning, skills development, or economic growth, most countries began to progressively implement competency-based education reforms, mainly in the 2000s. Surprisingly, these reforms have not always succeeded in improving learning outcomes, or at least not at the expected pace. Thus, a relevant question is: how can we teach skills, in practice, in every classroom to make sure that what is crafted at the education authority level translates into measurable results in every student?

Even though there have never been as many reports available about skill development policies as there are now, most of them focus on recommendations to identify skills-shortages and implement skill development strategies, at the aggregate level. Unfortunately, the evidence about what policymakers can do to specifically enable the development of skills in schools is more limited. From my experience as a policymaker leading a large skill development program, a crucial step to facilitate this process, as simple and obvious as it may seem, is to invest enough time to define the skills that will be taught, as precisely as possible.

Wait, but what exactly are skills?
Skills are the ability to do something well. While knowledge alludes to the way we realize, understand, and remember information, skills refer to the way that we choose, use, and apply knowledge in different circumstances, facing diverse and frequently unpredictable challenges. Think about writing emails, for example: individuals may know how to write, and they may even know what emails are, but that doesn’t mean they know how to write emails well, much less how to write them in different contexts, and for different audiences and purposes. Thus, being able to write is different than having communication skills. In fact, a more technical definition of skills –or competencies– involves knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values, which means that, in the email example, individuals are not only expected to use their grammar well but to also show empathy and respect.

In addition, skills are:

  1. Multi-dimensional and interrelated: skills can be (1) cognitive, (2) social-emotional or non-cognitive, and/or (3) technical or job-relevant, but they can also be of basic order or high order. Different types of skills interact so much that it becomes complex to determine which skills beget the development of others, or to classify certain skills into only one category. For example, social-emotional skills are necessary to learn and develop cognitive skills, but at the same time developing cognitive abilities contributes to developing social-emotional ones.
  • Cross-disciplinary: the same skill can be taught across different disciplines with similar or different purposes –for example: problem solving.
  • Transversal: the same skill can be relevant to a broad range of occupations or sectors, not only to an individual’s current occupation –for example: communication.
  • Transferable: a core objective of skills is that they can be transferred to and applied in different occupations or contexts –for example: decision making.
  • Acquired during different developmental periods: skills can be acquired and developed during different age periods, according to individuals’ needs and maturity. Typically, cognitive skills are developed during early childhood and childhood and tend to plateau around adulthood, while job-relevant skills are usually acquired during late adolescence and adulthood.
  • Ultimately evaluated in the workplace and in life: even though individuals are supposed to acquire some of the most important skills in school, it is several years later, in the workplace and/or in life, that they will be able to assess whether they have acquired them or not.

So, why is it hard to teach them (in practice)?
To teach skills, teachers need clear, specific objectives that are measurable. This is particularly relevant for teaching social-emotional skills, since their assessment is more complex than that of cognitive skills. Since skills are multi-dimensional and cross-disciplinary, among other characteristics, teachers need to have a clear idea of what they are expected to teach, so that they can track progress in the classroom. This includes specific and simple definitions for every skill within a curriculum framework.

Think of the following real-life example: In 2008, Mexico’s competency-based Upper Secondary Reform (or RIEMS) introduced a common curriculum framework with 11 common competencies. One of these competencies was defined as “the student chooses and practices [a healthy life style]”. In practice, teaching this type of objective is tricky since teachers cannot necessarily force students to make healthy decisions, much less evaluate whether they made them or not.

Sometimes competencies tend to be defined as the outcome of a skill (in this case, choosing healthy life styles), not as a skill per se (responsible decision making for example), which makes them hard to teach and evaluate. In the context of the program that I led, we decided to work along with psychologists and teachers to set clear, understandable, and simple definitions for our 18 skills, including responsible decision-making. This step helped us to implement the program faster and helped teachers to carry out the program’s teaching activities.

The more specific we can be about what works, and what doesn’t, the better the outcomes.  I strongly encourage you to use your policy making skills for that purpose.

Source: written by Paula Villaseñor for world bank blog

How to Support Employee Growth and Professional Development

Employee retention is one of the biggest threats to businesses throughout the country. The tide has shifted in recent years, and the employees now have more power than ever in their relationships with employers. In fact, 65 percent of workers believe they can leverage this control to their advantage through salary and benefit negotiations.

One way for businesses to keep employees satisfied and committed is through employee growth and professional development initiatives. Udemy found that 42 percent of employees said that learning and development were the most important benefits when deciding where to work.

 

bruce-mars-xj8qrWvuOEs-unsplash

picture thanks to bruce mars on Unsplash

By taking a proactive approach to your employee growth and professional development strategies, you can mitigate employee turnover and drive more productivity. Here are six ways to support employee growth and professional development in the workplace.

Give Recognition and Rewards

If you want to support employee growth and professional development, you must first keep them happy and motivated. That starts by creating a company culture that rewards and recognizes exceptional work.

Giving recognition and rewards to your employees can motivate them, and it encourages loyalty — which are driving forces behind employee growth. When workers feel valued and their efforts recognized, performance levels increase. A study from Alight Solutions found that employees who felt their rewards were met are seven times more likely to be engaged with their work.

Recognition and rewards are excellent ways to incentivize your employees to grow with the organization. While monthly or annual awards are great, consider recognizing your employees spontaneously — as 47 percent of employees said they prefer unplanned rewards.

Provide Feedback in Real-time, Not Just During Annual Reviews

According to a study from Wakefield Research, more than 90 percent of employees would prefer that their manager address learning opportunities and mistakes in real-time, not during an annual review only. Organizations that do not provide continuous feedback cannot expect employees to grow or develop in the areas within which they struggle.

Knowing your weaknesses is an important step in personal and professional development. Organizations need to implement processes that help management organize and assess the strengths and weaknesses of their employees on an ongoing basis. These managers need to then communicate the results of those assessments throughout the year — either weekly, monthly or quarterly.

This ongoing evaluation and communication process provides a feedback loop that helps employees understand the areas they need more training in, as well as developmental areas to improve employee aptitude and performance.

Use a Learning Management System (LMS)

A learning management system (LMS) offers organizations a scalable solution to employee growth and professional development. As the name might suggest, learning management systems are applications that help businesses create, store, track, deliver and report educational resources, trainings and developmental programs.

LMS software offers businesses an alternative solution to creating, managing and delivering training materials and courses manually. Rather than investing valuable time training new hires or working one-on-one on redundant training programs, businesses can utilize LMS software to move that training into an eLearning platform. Not only does LMS software streamline the employee training, but it allows the organization to deliver consistent material and uphold their quality assurance.

Encourage Mentoring and Coaching

Another way for businesses to look internally to support employee growth and professional development is through mentoring and coaching programs. The modern workforce has changed, and employees no longer respond well to demands or orders. Rather, managers must learn to work in tandem with their employees, similar to a coach or mentor.

Organizations can support the growth of their employees by creating a management culture that encourages communication and training. Managers shouldn’t be afraid to ask employees if they need help, and they should relish in the opportunity to pass on skills or knowledge to their employees.

Professional development and training typically fall on one’s direct managers — so emphasizing a culture of coaching and mentoring is an excellent way to encourage employee growth.

Identify and Develop Soft Skills

Soft skills refer to the personal traits and non-technical attributes that help you succeed in your career. These skills can include areas like time management, delegation, active listening, and communication, among others. Organizations that offer training and educational resources for soft-skill development can increase the productivity of their entire team – not just the employee.

Surprisingly, soft-skill development is something that many of today’s managers lack. Most organizations promote their best-performing employees to managerial positions, even if they lack proper management skills, training, or experience. In fact, a 2016 study from Grovo found that 87 percent of managers wish they had more training before being asked to lead.

While productivity is important, organizations need to take a proactive approach to assess and develop soft skills for employees and managers.

Implement Cross-Departmental Training Programs

Today’s businesses are becoming less and less siloed. Whether you work as a production manager or the front-line sales representative, there is value in understanding how every unit operates.

As such, organizations can support employee growth and professional development by implementing cross-departmental training programs. Moreover, breaking these departmental barriers can improve communication from one unit to the next — thus, increasing the efficiency of your entire organization.

For instance, your customer service department might notice a common theme in consumer complaints about a product. If there is a communication gap between them and the production team, that deficiency or issue might not be brought up as quickly as it should.

Cross-departmental training programs can educate your employees about different areas of your business, while also providing a better communication channel between different sectors of your organization.

Continue to Look for Developmental Opportunities

To mitigate employee turnover and decreased productivity, organizations must find creative ways to engage workers and increase their loyalty. Employee growth initiatives and skill-development programs are two long-term strategies that provide the foundation for improved employee experiences. If businesses want to invest in anything in 2019 and beyond, it should be their most valuable resource — their employees.

Article by Christine Soeun Choi for Glassdoor

5 Ways To Develop Your Skills On The Job

In today’s competitive job market, it is so important that you keep learning and growing. But, you know what, time is scarce. It is hard enough to get the job done each day let alone plan for the next step in your career. But, if your career is a priority, it is mission critical to find ways to learn and grow so that you can continue to advance your career and develop your skills. If you are looking for a promotion or raise, you’re going to have to prove you can add more value.

Innovative-Design

picture thanks to saintellectsolutions.com

5 Ways To Develop Your Skills On The Job

The best ways to do this is to continually feed your career with skills and knowledge that show you are worth the raise and promotion. And here’s the hack… you can do these things while you’re at work. Here’s how:

  1. Get a mentor & be a mentor.

Having a mentor at work is crucial to attaining new skills and knowledge. A good mentor will help you solve some of the challenges and roadblocks you face. The best mentors will help you figure out next steps that work for you and help guide you over hurdles that sit squarely in your blind spot. Amazing mentors will be the people who tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. They will give you the real feedback you need to fill in your blind spots that put you in a position to advance. Mentors are important to advancing your career. They can expose you to new experiences and points of view. In addition to finding a good mentor, consider finding a good protégé as well. In many cases, taking that next step in your career means you may have to manage people. The best way to practice is to become a mentor to someone else. You pay your learnings forward to others to help them advance as well. You learn a lot about motivating people and teaching them new skills when you can also act as a mentor.

  1. Raise your hand for new challenges.

When you see new opportunities to learn new skills, go for it. If there is something in the company you want to learn to do and you see an opportunity to learn those skills in a special project or a new assignment, make the grab. Do a little extra when it’s required to learn those new skills that you need to advance. Remember, it’s not aggressive to reach for a new opportunity. It is helpful, useful, and valuable. People who progress in their careers find ways to elegantly make grabs for new opportunity and learning. When a new project comes up and it aligns with the skills you’re looking to obtain, raise that hand. Let your manager or HR team know that you want to learn some new skills or gain new, more advanced experience. Be clear on what you can offer to the project and get involved.

  1. Read, read, read and look for problems to solve.

Sometimes, there are not a lot of grabs to make. I understand that. In that case, I recommend that you start reading everything you can about your industry and your field. Study everything there is to know about your company and their competitors. Know the company goals and unique selling points of your company like the back of your hand. Become an expert in these things and be able to talk about it. Think about some solutions to the company’s chief challenges. Honestly, when someone on my team comes to me with a solution, they stand out. When there are not many special projects to make a grab for, you can develop and pitch your own special project by knowing what challenges you can solve for the company. This way, you learn new skills and stand out because you’ve taken the time to solve a company problem.

  1. Make friends in other departments.

Many times new skills are outside your department or area of influence and responsibility. To overcome this, think about networking internally. Get to know people in other divisions, other offices, and on other teams. Be curious about their department. Learn everything you can about their job and their skills. Find out how they got those skills and see how you might be able to chip in over there in your spare time to get those skills you want to use to advance.

  1. Find the learning opportunities internally.

The last one is one I always forget about. Many companies have some sort of internal learning system. Go talk to your benefits team. Find out about training opportunities available to you. Learn about any tuition re-imbursement benefits you may have. Talk with your HR team about what you want to learn and how it can help the company. Getting new skills doesn’t have to mean going back to school in the evenings. Sometimes, the skills you’re looking for are right in front of you. It’s a matter of knowing what you want to learn and finding ways to get those skills while you are actually at work already.

Source: written by Tracey Parsons for work in daily

7 Job Search Tips for Your 2020 Self

Grit and grind will always matter in the job search as much as having adequate hard and soft skills. But hard work in years to come will look much different as a does today. Partly due to how job seekers will market present themselves to the world long before a single employer is interested.

picture thanks to mediabistro.com

Many surveys including Remote.co predicts half of the population will be remotely employed by 2020. This will require a significant change in the way we navigate our careers. Everyone should imagine what 2020 will look like for their career. I have, and this is what I saw as takeaways.

Your life lessons matter in your job search

Although hardships are not a direct career accomplishment, it is part of the fiber of your career trajectory and success building blocks. Resilience is what employers will need to see more of as opportunities are more global and the work/life balance lines burr. Navigating your career becomes the “Scylla and Charybdis” because a mobile job search is not a haven everyone thinks it will be. The cost needs an assessment whether it’s lifestyle changes or career choices. It won’t be easy. Just be ready.

Compensation negotiation is constant

As you consider salary as a priority, you’ll also need to look at how much everything else means to you in your negotiation package. Healthcare packages become more costly and on the fringes of unaffordability for the long term. Packages will change during the duration of one employment stint, not just from employment to employment. Pensions and social security will have changed.

A clear career trajectory ten years ahead will be rare if not impossible

Technology shifts are impossible to predict five or ten years down the line. Everything is about automation through robotics or virtualization. Time and productivity for everything are measured, so unless you can prove you can do things quicker, better, and faster, it will be harder to compete for technology careers. You will need to show it before you can consider being competitive in the market.

Your network is your job search navigation

Those who are vigilant and connected to their networks discover jobs more seamlessly than ever. Social proof is the norm rather than the exception. There is a clear difference between an active network and a weak one based on the relevance of your connections, and their connections. Not only your direct connections matter but also 2nd-degree connections matter more.

Your team will matter more than your boss

We’ve seen the rise in teams interviewing job candidates. In 2020, a candidate enthusiasm for working at a company based on his or her projected team. Remote work as a norm will promote team branding and the entrepreneurial spirit.

Be Mobile, agile, visible, and adaptable in your job search

One of your options may not include physically moving, but understand roles with movable parts are interchangeable. Technology will create opportunities as much as opportunities will fade as the need for companies to alter business plans and objectives. Although the quality of your work is stellar, doesn’t guarantee its relevance from one year to the next, or between companies.

Career title focus signals a failure to brand

Having one job is complacency–so we understand. The problem will stem from pursuing one job. If you want to brand yourself beyond 2020, several roles are needed. The preparation to use different skills within different roles is critical. Although most will say you can’t be an expert in everything, you must offer several specialties because it’s likely you’ll have three or more part-time jobs while you’re young for years to come.

Failure to take control of your job search now will become more involved in 2020. By then, the cliches such as “fill out many applications as you can” and “send your resume everywhere” are heard in movies as a punchline, not as viable advice. If you want some indications of how your brand appears now, look at your LinkedIn headline and does it speak value, or does the title of your position stand out. If it’s the latter, it’s not too late to relaunch your brand for 2020.

Source : written by

11 bad and outdated job-hunting tips you should stop believing

Gone are the days where you could send your resume to a few dozen companies, pour yourself into your best suit for the interview, and have a steady, 9-to-5 job with benefits and a pension.

Now, you’ll have to be a bit more inventive to get your dream job, said The Muse expert career coach Evangelia Leclaire.

“Job seekers need stop believing that a linear and congruent career path and long term employment at one or a few companies is what will give them a competitive edge,” Leclaire, who is also founder and chief evangelist of Ready Set Rock Academy, told Business Insider. “That’s just not the norm anymore.”

When you’re looking for a job, you don’t need to wear a suit to an interview or ignore opportunities that appear outside of your comfort zone. Plus, the advice “follow your passion” isn’t always the best.

picture thanks to insights.dice.com

 

Here are some more outdated job tips to discard:

“No matter what, follow your passion!”

You quit your job to open a cupcake bakery, because you love cupcakes. But then it doesn’t take off — so you give up and go back to the cubicle mines.

It didn’t have to be like that. Following your passion doesn’t always mean turning your most beloved hobby into a job.

Instead, think about why you enjoy baking cupcakes. Is it because you enjoy the chemistry behind baking? Serving others?

As Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson put it: “The important point is to not just follow your passion but something larger than yourself. It ain’t just about you and your damn passion.”

In other words, did the world need another cupcake store? Or could your “passion for cupcakes” be expressed in a more constructive fashion that could help others while being fulfilling for yourself?

 

“You really SHOULD get your MBA.”

We all know someone who insists that they should learn Chinese or get an MBA or start writing a novel.

Career and wellness coach Joanna Echols calls it “should-ing all over ourselves.”

“It starts with an assumption that somebody else knows better what’s right for you and what you should do,” Echols told Business Insider. “Claim back your personal power and let your own choices and decisions guide your job hunting process.”

And, above all, even if you think you should go into business, you probably won’t be very good at it if you’re just there because you think you should do it.

 

“All you need to do is make your résumé better, then you’ll get any job.”

Leclaire said you can re-design, beef up the key words, and edit your résumé all you want. It’s not going to make or break your career.

“That’s just a small sliver of the pie,” Leclaire said. “It’s not what moves the needle.”

She added: “Look at the big picture and take a holistic approach to your job search. Work on discovering and pursuing opportunities that fit you. Focus on your mindset, building relationships, networking, LinkedIn, job search strategy, your communication, maximizing your time, and more.”

 

“Networking is so awkward. It’s better to just avoid it.”

We often view networking as a bunch of people in a room being “fake.” But that’s only if you make it so.

“Share a concise and transparent version of your story, ask questions, and actively listen,” career coach Marc Dickstein told Business Insider. “Authentic curiosity is your ticket to a worthwhile conversation and a meaningful connection.”

Leclaire underlined curiosity, as well. She said you should try asking people, “What are you focusing on?” or, “I’d love to explore how I can support you.”

“These simple phrases take the pressure off of feeling like you need to sell yourself or have some polished elevator pitch every time you connect with someone,” Leclaire said. “Go about connecting with people from a place of curiosity and contribution.”

 

“You majored in Spanish, so clearly you’re not really a numbers person. Better stay away from those business analyst roles.”

People who believe that their abilities and interests are permanent are less likely to be interested in new information and fields, Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz recently reported.

For instance, you may have concluded that you could never go into programming simply because “your brain doesn’t work like that.” But you don’t know if you would like coding, art, or some other field until you try it.

 

“If you apply to 30 places, for sure you’ll get a job somewhere.”

This is also called the “spray and pray,” Dickstein said.

It seems smart: you increase your odds by just increasing the number of recruiters who have your application in their pile. But alas, recruiters can usually see through this — and they won’t be calling you in for an interview.

“It’s easy for recruiters to identify thoughtful applications that are tailored to the opportunity,” Dickstein said.

 

“You should end your cover letter by saying, ‘I will call you on the 12th to schedule an interview.’”

You may have been told that you should end your cover letter with a “call to action” — or, tell them that you’ll be calling them to schedule an interview. It seems like a way to appear passionate about the position, while also guaranteeing an opportunity to explain yourself beyond the written word.

But don’t do it.

According to The Muse’s Lily Zhang, this cover letter line will make you seem “egotistical and possibly delusional.”

“I have no idea where this (threatening) advice originated from, but ending your cover letter like this will not give the impression that you’re a go-getter who takes initiative,” Zhang wrote.

 

“Hard skills are most important.”

There’s no denying that hard skills are important — but they’re not all that’s important. Maybe you know the right programming languages, speak Italian fluently, or can plow through projects.

Dickstein said those are all givens when you’re applying for highly competitive roles. The next step: Showing that you’re passionate, have the right social savvy to be a great leader, or are an amazing public speaker.

 

“That job hasn’t been posted online yet, so you probably shouldn’t apply.”

Maybe you caught wind that your dream company is opening a position that’s right for you.

Don’t hesitate just because there isn’t a link online to apply, Dickstein said. In fact, that’s really the opposite of what you should do — ask a contact or who you think is a hiring manager about the opening and how to apply.

“Hiring managers often know about functional needs and opportunities before they are made public,” Dickstein said. “In many cases, recruiters begin to fill the pipeline early and even begin to screen potential candidates.”

 

“Make sure your application is full of buzzwords!”

Lavishing on the buzzwords won’t make you look in-the-know. It will just annoy whoever is reading your application.

Buzzwords have become so overused that they’ve lost all meaning, Mary Lorenz, a corporate communications manager at CareerBuilder, previously told Business Insider. So, even if you are a “social media influencer” or someone who “thinks outside the box,” that really doesn’t mean much.

“Using some of these words won’t necessarily disqualify you, but make sure that you’re telling your story — not decorating it for the holidays,” Dickstein said.

Go for action words that actually communicate what you did. Dickstein recommended words like “achieved,” “negotiated,” “budgeted,” or “improved.”

 

“It’s just a job. Find something that pays well, even if it’s not all fun and games.”

You’ll spend around 90,000 hours of your life at work. If you hate every passing minute of your job, that adds up to a lot of misery.

Looking for a new job can be the perfect opportunity to seek out something that aligns with what you want to do with those 90,000 hours. Don’t just seek something that pays well — look for something that fulfills you.

“Your career choices can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing,” Echols said. “Lack of job satisfaction or work-related stress are major causes of anxiety, depression and other mental and physical disorders.”

Source : written by Rachel Premack for Theladders

How to Set the Stage for a Successful Job Search

Before you start applying for jobs, make sure you’ve set up your job search for success.

When you’re waiting to receive the first draft of your professionally written resume, it can feel like an eternity — especially when you’re itching to land your next job.

However, don’t consider this time to be a waste. While a well-crafted resume and cover letter are key to a successful search, they’re only one piece of the job-search jigsaw puzzle.

To land the right job as soon as possible, there are a lot of things you’ll need to do before you can start applying for jobs. Use this valuable time to complete the action items below so you can hit the ground running as soon as you’ve approved the final draft of your resume.

successful recreation center graphic
picture thanks to sportadvisory.com

Write down your goals

Be clear on the type of job you’re seeking and write it down. You are 10 times more likely to accomplish your goal when you do this. Not only that, but this information will influence many other aspects of your search, from the types of employers you target to how you prioritize your networking activities. Consider all aspects of the job, from the work environment and industry to your commute and desired salary. The better defined your goals, the more efficient your job search will be.

Create a target company list

Landing a new job often requires you to pursue multiple job opportunities at the same time. To streamline the process, it’s helpful to build a list of companies that meet your location, industry, size, and corporate-culture needs. Use the information you brainstormed above to create your target list of employers.

Then, research each company on your list to get a better sense of their current job openings and determine if anyone in your existing network is somehow connected to these organizations. Start following these employers on social media, especially if they have accounts dedicated to recruiting, and set up Google News Alerts for each of them to keep you in the know.  

Get organized

Take a little time to figure out the best way for you to keep your job-search activities organized:

  • Communication: Consider creating a professional-looking, new email address with Gmail that’s reserved for your job-search activities. Also, if you decide to upload a picture to your email account, make sure it’s appropriate for your job search. Revisit the voicemail message on your cell phone, as well, to confirm that it includes your name so employers know they’ve called the right person.
  • Job applications: Whether you’re interested in a web-based solution like Huntr or JobHero, or you prefer to go old school with an Excel sheet or Word document, it’s important to find a way to track your job applications and other job-search activities. Keep track of the company name, job title and location, job listing URL, where you found the job, the point of contact (if applicable), the date you applied, and the name of the resume file you used for the application. As you start applying for jobs, be sure to document the date you followed up on your application and if you secured an interview.
  • Job boards: Run some Google searches to uncover niche job boards in your field or industry (e.g. marketing job boards). Make a list of all the job boards you’d like to use for your job search and start creating your profile on each so all you have left to do is upload your new resume.

In addition, upload apps to your smart device that will help you stay organized and search on the go.

Audit your online presence

Over 90 percent of recruiters admit to looking at candidates’ online profiles — regardless of whether the candidates provided this information. If you’re not actively managing your online presence, you may be hurting your chances of landing the job. Google your name to get a sense of what employers will find when they search for you and set up Google Alerts for your name to actively monitor it going forward.

Then, deactivate or update any profiles you have on job boards, social media platforms, online directories, and so forth to ensure employers will find the same professional online that they will meet face-to-face. Finally, increase the security settings on personal accounts you don’t want employers to find.

Earmark jobs that interest you

Start searching for job opportunities online that you’re interested in and qualified to do. Before you add a job to your list, ask yourself these questions to make sure the job application will be worthwhile.

In addition to adding the job to whatever system you’ve chosen to organize your applications, be sure to save a copy of the job description in a Word or Google document so you have it for future reference. Oftentimes, a company will take down its job posting once it’s received enough applicants, so you may not have access to this information when it’s time to prepare for the interview.

Prep for your job applications

Resumes – and cover letters – work best when they are tailored to specific job openings or employers. While professionally written resume will be in great shape, you’ll still need to make minor tweaks to the keywords to customize it for a specific job listing. These small optimizations will increase your application’s chances of getting past the hiring bots and on to someone in HR for review.

Jot down the keywords that are used repeatedly in the job description, and make a note of any skills or qualifications that seem very important to the employer. That way, you can be sure to highlight this information in your cover letter and resume when the time comes. Also, if there isn’t a name associated with the job listing, do a little online sleuthing to uncover the name of the hiring manager or recruiter responsible for the role. That way, you can properly address your cover letter.

Make networking a priority

There’s no denying the power a strong professional network can have over your career success — especially when you’re looking for work. In fact, you’re 10 times more likely to land a job when your application is accompanied by a referral. Use this time to ramp up your networking efforts.

Take a second look at your existing contacts and prioritize them based on their connection to the companies, fields, and industries that interest you. Start reconnecting with these people and setting up coffee dates and phone calls to ask for help with your job search.

Also, explore new professional associations to join or events to attend that sound interesting and are relevant to your goals. Click on the following link for more ideas on how to grow your professional network.

Line up references

References may not belong on your resume, but they play an important role in your job search. Line up at least three references from people with whom you currently or previously worked. The idea is to identify people who have insight into your skills and capabilities and who you trust to say good things about you and your performance. In other words, target people who are willing to advocate for your candidacy. Then, contact these people and make sure they’re willing to be a reference for you when the time comes. Once your professional resume is ready, be sure to send each of your references a copy so they have a better sense of your current goals and qualifications.

Now that you’re starting your job search on the right step, are you ready to start interviewing? Take this short quiz to create an interview coaching plan that’s right for you.

Source : written by Amanda Augustine for TopResume

3 Secret LinkedIn Job Search Tips

Use LinkedIn to be informed and proactive during a job search.

READY FOR A NEW ROLE? Afraid that you are missing out if you don’t go look for a new job? It has never been easier to be tempted but harder to be noticed than it is in today’s job market. There are many paths to a new role: job postings, outreach calls, networking events, job fairs, referrals, social media and more. However, the relatively low barriers to applying for job postings means that thousands of candidates can apply for a role from the comfort of their home. The high volume often floods a company’s Inbox and makes it more difficult for truly qualified candidates to stand out. If you are looking for better ways to support your job search efforts and distinguish yourself, here are three strategies to try using LinkedIn.

picture thanks to hooklineandclincher.in

Boost your insider knowledge using ‘Content’ searches.

 If you click on the “Search” field at the top of your LinkedIn page, you will see a drop-down for People, Jobs and Content. If you choose Content, you will be taken to LinkedIn’s feed of posts by users. Within this section, you can refine and access posts on any topic of your choosing. For example, if you are a sales professional looking to make the move to customer success, you can search “Customer Success” to see recent posts and discussions on the subject. A quick read of the posts will give you an excellent overview of what the market is writing or thinking about related to customer success.

Next, look at the companies and individuals that are posting. The posters are writing to create brand recognition, promote something, establish expertise or provide thought leadership. Additionally, they could just be passionate about the topic with no other motive. No matter what the goal of the post, analysis of who is posting gives you companies and contacts who have a vested interest in the topic. This community is often more accessible to a job seeking stranger who wants to learn more about an employment area and related trends. The more you can engage and grow in your knowledge and insight, the better candidate you are for future roles. You may also come across insider opportunities where there is growth, but no roles posted yet. Identifying bright spots or pain points before formal hiring starts is where the proactive job seeker can secure roles without having to compete with hundreds of other applicants.

Search for ‘Jobs’ using keywords. 

Most people search for positions using the desired title. Armed with more nuanced information from your Content searches, make a list of critical keywords and related concepts that are likely to show up in an ideal job posting or company description. This move enables you to find roles that may have a different title than expected. It also helps you to identify new roles and functions that may be ideal if you pivot from your current role. For example, if you have a career in operational excellence and are ready for a change, “center of excellence” is a modern concept employed by companies looking to champion operational excellence.

To search by keywords, start in the search box at the top of your LinkedIn screen, select Jobs and then enter your keywords. The results will be any job post that has “center of excellence” in the job description. Although many of the positions will not be the exact right role for you, you now have a list of companies that have or value a “center of excellence” and are hiring. These can be great targets for proactive outreach for other positions.

Network specifically. 

LinkedIn has more than 500 million profiles. It is one of the best networking research tools available. Successful networking involves strategic and specific “asks” of others to advance your goals. It is not effective (nor appreciated) to go to your contacts and ask that they send you any job leads. The better route is to refine your request so that it requires less from your contacts and is more likely to get a response. A LinkedIn “People” search can help with this process. Start with a list of potential companies for your next career move. Use the search box and select People. One strategy is to identify contacts you know who work at the targeted companies. Or, you can use a People search to locate potential hiring managers at a desired company.

Once you have a list of who is the right hiring authority, you can see if you have LinkedIn contacts who are connected to the desired manager. Limit your request to, “Hi Mary. I am targeting a move into the health care industry and have read really fascinating things about Acme Corp. I noticed that you were connected to Bob Manager, the VP of Quality. Is he someone you would feel comfortable introducing me to? I would like to ask him about the Center of Excellence they are developing and the related growth plans.”

This exchange minimizes the effort required from Mary and demonstrates you have a plan for the outreach – not just, “I want to work at Acme Corp. and am sending messages to every name I can find.” It also reminds Mary of your area of expertise – which is likely to stick with her in case she hears about other “center of excellence” related opportunities.

In summary, by deepening your knowledge of a sector or career path and creating specific ways to be proactive, you have a much better chance to uncover an ideal role. Additionally, with extra research and effort, you become a more compelling and competitive candidate. Being resourceful, informed and proactive are three traits in demand by every growing business.

Source : written by Robin Reshwan for Usnews