Standing out in a Competitive Industry

Standing out in a Competitive Industry

When you’re applying for a job, standing out from the crowd is always a challenge. But, this tough task can suddenly seem insurmountable when you’re applying for an extremely competitive position. Have a read below for 5 actions that are helpful to you standing out in a competitive industry.

However, spending all of your time obsessing over the intense competition will only serve to make you feel more anxious and self-conscious—qualities that definitely won’t help you approach your job hunt and interviews with confidence. So, let go of that intimidation and instead focus on doing what you need to do to separate yourself from the pack.

But, how can you draw positive attention to yourself, when there are hundreds of other people applying to that exact same job? Here are five tips that are sure to help you stand out from that pile of other applicants.

1. Get Personal

Feeling like you’re submitting your materials into cyberspace is always frustrating—especially when you put so much time and effort into them. And, when you know that tons of other people are following that exact same process, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a long line just waiting to draw your number.

This is when making a personal connection can make a huge difference. What exactly does this mean? Start by seeing if you know anyone who currently works for that employer. Whether it’s an old friend or an acquaintance on LinkedIn, having someone who can hand-deliver your resume or put in a good word for you can really help to put your name at the top of the interview list.

If you can’t track down someone who can refer or recommend you, you should still make an effort to be as personal as possible in your application materials. Skip that generic “To Whom It May Concern” line (those letters typically find their way directly to the wastebasket!), and instead do some digging to see if you can find the name of the person you’d be working directly for—or even the hiring manager.

Knowing that you put in the legwork and research necessary to personally address your documents immediately portrays you as a dedicated and resourceful applicant. And, that reputation is sure to put you back at the top of the pile!

2. Improve Your Documents

A resume that’s riddled with typos and grammatical errors. A cover letter that contains the wrong company name. Yes, they’re all sure to make the hiring manager remember you—but not necessarily in a positive light.

It seems basic, but going through your resume and cover letter with a fine-tooth comb is absolutely necessary. Not only is this a best practice when applying for any sort of job, it’s also a surefire way to help you differentiate yourself from the crowd—you wouldn’t believe how much of your competition is immediately discounted, simply because their documents are sloppy.

Aside from just scanning for basic errors, now’s also a great time to polish your materials and make sure that they’re memorable and impactful. Ensure that you include quantifiable achievements in your resume that don’t only tell how great you are at what you do, but show it as well. Start your cover letter off with an engaging and captivating story, rather than that standard, “I’m writing in regards to…” line.

No, you don’t want to send a singing telegram or print your resume on hot pink paper. However, these more subtle tweaks and additions can really help you to be remembered—in a way that’s not eccentric and over-the-top.

3. Go Above and Beyond

I won’t deny that your resume and cover letter are extremely important documents for job search success. But, does that mean they’re absolutely the only things you need in order to land your dream job? Absolutely not.

You should never hesitate to go the extra mile, show some initiative, and share some other materials that a potential employer might care about. Go ahead and send them a link to your portfolio or personal blog. Anything that helps them to get a better sense of who you are as a candidate will benefit you!

You can even take things one step further by completing a sample specifically for that employer. Applying for a social media management position? Pull together a brief example of a social media strategy that you think could work for them. Want to be a data analyst? Share that amazing Excel spreadsheet you built—complicated macros and all. Showing that extra effort demonstrates how interested you are in the position. And, if they actually like the sample work you create? Well, then you’ve already got one foot in the door!

4. Polish Your Social Media Presence

Your work examples and official career documents will only take you so far. After all, employers pretty much expect that you’ll put your best foot forward when it comes to those materials. So, what will they do next? More than likely, hiring managers will look you up on social media.

Believe me, you don’t want to be remembered as the candidate who stars in that video for “Phi Sigma Rho’s Longest Keg Stand” or the applicant who writes scathing reviews of every single ex-boss on Facebook.

So, before even submitting your stuff, ensure you’ve taken the time to clean up your social media profiles. Bonus points for actually taking the time to polish and update your LinkedIn profile while you’re at it!

5. Follow Up

You know all of that intense competition we talked about? Well, it not only overwhelms you—it’s also pretty overwhelming to the hiring manager as well. Suddenly, they have an inbox full of submissions, and it’s up to them to weed out the junk in order to find those diamonds in the rough.

So, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back immediately about that job you’re so excited about. In fact, you likely won’t receive a super timely response. This is why following up is so important.

If you haven’t heard anything (whether that’s a “yes”, “thanks, but no thanks”, or a “we’ve received your submission” email) in about a week or two, feel free to reach out personally and check in on a timeline for a hiring decision. Make an attempt to use the most personalized email address you can find. But, if you can’t hunt one of those down, a general “info” or “careers” address will suffice as well.

Craft a friendly message just asking for an update on the hiring process for that specific position, reiterate your excitement about the opportunity, and thank them for their time. Still radio silence? You’re free to follow up once more. But, after that, it’s time to let it go. We all know there’s a fine line between being persistent and being a pest.

Standing out from the crowd when the job competition is stiff can undoubtedly be tough. But, it’s not impossible! It just involves some thought and creativity. Put these tips to use, and you’re sure to find your way to the top of that resume pile.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Where Do You See Yourself?

five year career plan

For many people, answering the interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” can be overwhelming. If this is you in a nutshell, worry not. Hiring managers aren’t really that concerned with the specifics of your answer anyway. 

What they want to know is a glimpse into your ambition, goals, focus, and drive.

They want to know you’ve at least considered your future and what you’d like to accomplish. 

Even if you don’t know exactly where you see yourself in five years, there’s still a right way to answer this question during an interview.

Why ask this?

Asking “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is more about getting insight into your hopes and aspirations. Interviewers are seeking objectives to give an inside look into how you operate and structure your thoughts.

Naturally, a potential employer wants to understand your career goals to assess how their position fits into your grand plan. Companies want trustworthy, detail-oriented, and dedicated team members who are willing to take a leap — not a noncommittal employee who is only sticking around until a better opportunity arises elsewhere.

The question itself can be phrased in a multitude of ways. All of the below examples aim to uncover similar information for hiring managers to review: 

  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • Do you have an ideal job at this stage in your career?
  • What are you looking for?
  • How do you define success?
  • What is most important to you in your career?
  • Do you have goals planned for the next five years?
  • Where will you be in five years?

Tips: Before the Interview

Life gets tricky and, ultimately, no one person knows completely where they will be in five years.  Hiring managers are aware of this. Focus on what your dreams are, where you would like to take your career, and how you plan to do this.

Also, be sure to focus on how you plan to help the company. Show yourself as someone who will add value to the team and help advance the company. 

While developing your answer, keep in mind what the interviewer wants to know when they ask you this question: your work-related goals, ambitions, desired training, and so on. What type of positions do you see yourself occupying? What type of training? Are you interested in leadership positions, or would you like to keep your focus on the technical aspects of your work? Provide direct and relatable answers.

If the answer doesn’t come to you at first, think about how you have grown over the last five years.

Consider the natural flow of progression in your career thus far and what aspects sparked joy and curiosity in your daily efforts.  These aspects are a great benchmark for navigating the direction forward. 

During the interview

Answering “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When answering this question, be honest and be yourself. Sharing what you think the interviewer ‘wants to hear’ may seem like a good idea, but if it’s out of alignment with your truth, you can get in trouble down the road if you do get hired. Plus, it’s much easier to be yourself than to try to be someone you’re not.

Be specific and keep it work-related.

The interviewer doesn’t need to know that you plan on having two kids and a white picket fence in five years. Keep your answers to-the-point and about your work goals and visions.

An example response:

Let’s say you’re interviewing for an HR position at an organization and are asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” You might answer as follows:

“I’d like to expand my horizons by jumping in feet first and learning as much as I can, as quickly as I can, with the organization. From there, I’d seek out opportunities — at least one to two a year — to expand my knowledge through training and educational opportunities to support my job. I’d love to participate in at least one project geared toward leadership training if the opportunity arises. I also understand that the organization has a strong volunteer team, and I’d like to be an active participant in that team, as well. At some point, I’d also like to be considered for a supervisory or management level role.”

Keep it primarily work-related, show ambition, show that you’ve done your homework, and provide quantifiable goals. The key is to be confident, honest, clear, and succinct, and, of course, to answer the question.

What Not to Say.

Whatever you do, do not respond with, “I don’t know.”

To answer “I don’t know” shows that you haven’t given any thought to your future with the company or life in general. Again, one of the main reasons this question is asked is to find out if you have goals, ambition and a good work ethic and that you’ve considered how you might handle the position should you be hired.

So there you go. While the chances are good that you’ll be asked this question at some point during your career, the ball is in your hands to answer like a touchdown pass from inside the red zone. 

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at Power Writers Canada is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Executive Job Search Strategy

7 steps to an executive job search

Remember when you were early in your career and you’d apply for a job then go home and wait?  You knew you had all the required skills and experience, so it was just a matter of time. A few days go by and the call comes in. The next day is the interview.  3 days later you have the job and you start next week. Well, those days are long since gone! Nowadays if you don’t have an executive job search strategy, you come close to setting yourself up to fail.

Truthfully, now that you’ve positioned your career higher up the salary chain, those quick job search turnaround days are non-existent. The path to senior and executive-level job placement is an extended process that requires patience and good strategy.

Pro Tip: Manage Expectations

The challenge is to manage expectations that meet the reality of your job search. On-average an executive-level job search requires 4 months to 1 year from the initial point of contact to an actual first day of employment.

The average time it takes to find a job depends on many factors such as:

  • Time of year
  • Geographical demand for your skills
  • Whether you encounter ageism
  • Experience and salary requirements
  • Professional network
  • Job search skills

Time of Year

Q4 is traditionally the slowest hiring period so don’t go rushing into October with high hopes of December placement. However, in contrast, the busiest season for hiring is the first quarter. Manage expectations and remain positive to keep pushing on through slower times of the year.

Geography

All across the country, there are region-specific industry dominants. Depending on your career path, your advancement could depend on your flexibility towards a potential move of house and home.  Consider your chosen industry and region when outlining your timeline for ideal job placement.

Experience & Salary

Aim for your goals, however, do a little research into the companies you are applying to. You want to ensure they have the capacity and need for your set of skills and salary requirements.  Are they in an upswing or decline?  Have their social media channels just blasted news of a hiring fair? These elements can either hinder or expedite the hiring process and in turn, your job search strategy.

Your Network is Gold.

We’ve mentioned this in previous posts and it’s worth rehashing. Your network is solid gold.  At the Senior and Executive career levels, your LinkedIn profile should already be well polished with several years of connections to draw from. When it comes to job searching, this is your ideal go-to for making quick work of landing a job with ease and accuracy. 

Your job search skills.

How’s your job search game?  Ultimately, your drive dictates how fast a job can be obtained.  The steps are defined, now it’s on you to get organized and progress with confidence.

A quick note on ageism.

If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, the chances are good that you’ve seen or experienced age discrimination at work—as two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 have at some point, according to AARP. From a recruiter’s perspective, there are concerns that older employees not only require increased salaries but will be with the company for a shorter period.   Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for the big picture. 

Ageism can slow your job search process by the assumption that retirement is near.

If you are in a category susceptible to ageism, be prepared to talk about how much longer you plan to work.  Make sure you’re up to speed on technology and current education, as applicable.

Additionally, find the right company by considering what work environment is ideal for your own daily routine. Some company cultures trend younger – startups, for instance- and you may not want to be significantly older than everyone else in the room.  Or that could be exactly what you seek. Either way, due diligence is highly beneficial.

Resume specifics: To show yourself in the best light, hire a professional resume writer to modernize and retool your resume. Seriously, at this stage, a professional is a value-added investment to career advancement.

Extensive work history can begin to look muddled on a resume, as can the skills section after a few decades of career growth. Allowing a professional to optimize your resume, and LinkedIn for that matter will give you the leg up with ATS and recruiter processes.

Here is a link to our schedule at Power Writers Canada so you can see availability and book a free 15-min consult. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca



Will Resumes Be Necessary in 2020?

will resumes be necessary in 2020

There has been a lot of talk about resumes becoming less important in the future. We understand things change rapidly in the world of hiring practices, but could this be true? Will resumes be necessary in 2020?

It has been said that resumes really only account for about 10% of the hiring process and that social media accounts are replacing resumes. While it’s true, hiring managers are using social media platforms to investigate and vet potential employees, the idea that the resume is going away is not actually supported by career experts.

Social Media vs. Resume

Undoubtedly, recruiters are turning to platforms like LinkedIn, when they connect with potential candidates, what do you think is the first thing they ask for? That’s right, a resume!

LinkedIn is a great place to build your “brand” and strategically develop your profile to reflect your professional interests, experiences, and what you have to offer. Additionally, a great advantage to LinkedIn are the recommendations and multi-media options. All of these are great tools to entice recruiters, and once they are interested, that’s when a resume will always be necessary.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

More than 98% of Fortune 500 companies are utilizing the benefits of ATS these days. In the past decade, only the larger companies were using ATS. Now, it’s common practice for smaller companies to also be using ATS. This means that the chances of your resume being scanned for keywords and phrases are even greater. This allows the recruiters to filter out potential candidates and theoretically make sure their candidate is a good fit for the position.

The responsibility is really on you, the applicant, to be sure that keywords and phrases are in your resume. The success of your resume will be totally dependent upon ATS.

Resume Formatting for 2020

Knowing that ATS is so valuable and will only grow in importance in the future, how can you be sure you are ready for it? One of the most important things to consider is the fact that, while word processing details can make your resume fancier, ATS prefers very simple text-based documents.

Applicant Tracking Systems are very particular about formatting. There are many fonts they can’t “see”. They cannot “read” what’s in a text box, and pictures or graphics do not mean anything. However, bold, italics, underline, and shading is fine.

It’s one thing to hand out fancy resumes, but when it comes to applying online for jobs, simple, text-based, .doc resumes are going to increase your chances.

Beware Social Media Self-Expression

Now that we live in a world where it’s easy to google another person, recruiters too have adopted this ease in their candidate research. Knowing you will be researched, use it to your advantage!

Create social media accounts where you can develop your brand. Allow these accounts to reflect who you are, what you’re about, and what you have accomplished. As always, carefully consider if your accounts are reflecting the kind of information that you would want recruiters to find. While it’s fun to be impulsive and passionate about our social profiles, to maintain professionalism remember to consider future perspectives.

2020 Job Search

Not a lot is changing when it comes to the job search. While there is an increasing role for social media platforms, the resume is still essential. Another “old school” idea that still, and will probably ALWAYS be important is NETWORKING. In truth, someone who is referred to a hiring manager is more likely to get an interview and with the potential to be hired.

So, don’t be shy, network with your friends, in-laws, and other folks you know in your industry. Referrals always have an advantage compared to someone the hiring manager has no reference for.

If you have any questions about your resume or job search, reach out for a free resume review and consultation. Our team at PWC offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization, Coaching and Recruitment services. 

Connect with us here for a free 15-minute consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca



7 Reasons LinkedIn Is Your #1 Job Search Site

7 Reasons LinkedIn Is Your #1 Job Search Site

When used properly, LinkedIn can be a job-seekers best friend. With an optimized profile, you can send a broader message of your skills and achievement to gain an endless amount of connections. Making LinkedIn Your #1 Job Search Site.

However, LinkedIn profiles are not to be used as a copy and paste of your resume. Remember, this is a networking tool.  The aim is to showcase more than your resume can while still using mandatory keywords and SEO optimization

1. Make Your Headline Count

Your LinkedIn headline is your online brand. Along with the profile picture, the name and headline are what impact those who view the profile.  Keep that headline tidy and on-point to stand out from the crowd.  Consider how these 2 headlines sound:

“Marketer seeking next opportunity”

or

“Consumer Products Marketer Looking for Small Brand to Make Big”

No brainer, right? Make your headline count! 

2. Follow Your Target Companies

First off, if you haven’t already, create a list of ideal companies that align with your interests and skills.  Use this list as your go-to for snooping around LinkedIn with intent. 

Now, go follow those specific companies.

This way, you’ll hear about anything new they’ve got happening. from a new branch office opening to a new product release or possibly even a hiring push.

3. Broaden Your Network

If you haven’t been meticulous about inviting new networking contacts and old colleagues to join your LinkedIn network, get caught up now! You can download your address books from any webmail application or Outlook contacts.

Consider this, one new first-degree contact with 100 connections of their own can expand your first-second-and-third-degree network by tens of thousands of people.

That’s good at any point, but especially in a job search where you’re looking for as much visibility into your professional ecosystem as you can get.

4. Get That Intro!

If your first-degree connection knows someone you’d like to talk to, ask for an introduction.

Just browse to your target person’s LinkedIn profile, look for the blue link that says “Send a Message” and click on the arrow on the right of the link.  If you and your target person have a common connection, you’ll see a “Get an Introduction” pull-down menu. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeazy.

5. Find Your Hiring Manager

You can use the Advanced People Search to find hiring managers in most companies.  Click ‘Advanced’ next to the search bar at the top of the page. Then enter your target company name with the most likely title for your hiring manager as a second search term.

For instance, if you’re a Marketing person, your hiring manager could be Marketing Director or Marketing VP.  Use your instinct and search around a bit.  You’ll likely find the connection you need in no time!

 6. Your Network Is A Fountain of Wisdom

Go back to the Advanced Search page and conduct a search using just your target company’s name as a search term. Who in your network is connected to that company, and how? Those folks can do more than just make introductions. They can offer insight into the company and also who they may know directly.

Remember that a job search is not just about being noticed and making connections. It’s also about learning enough to decide whether a company can use your talents plus grow your skills.  A little research can show whether it’s worth your time to pursue opportunities with your target company.

7. Stay In It!

Patience and persistence are the names of the game now. It may take longer than you anticipated, or you could find the ideal fit quite quickly. Stay with it to step up to your next opportunity!

We want to see all or clients operating at top value when it comes to using LinkedIn for job search purposes. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn Profile Optimization, our team at PWC has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

How to Maximize ROI on LinkedIn Profiles

linkedin

LinkedIn maintains the largest business professional social network and is the prime route recruiters travel to finding talent. However, from what we’ve seen, many clients need help to know how to maximize ROI on LinkedIn profiles.

Sure, it’s a quick and easy way to reconnect with a co-worker from way back when or an old college friend, but LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for lead generation, market research, and global networking.

To maximize ROI on LinkedIn Profiles, learn about LinkedIn’s little-known and advanced features to help you unlock its potential to the greatest extent possible.

Before you spend money on premium accounts or paid marketing.

Be specific on how you plan to use LinkedIn. For example, are you:

  • expanding your network,
  • promoting your business,
  • contributing to a discussion,
  • or publishing your own content specific to your expertise.

If you’re going to contribute, then put thought into the subject and truly contribute.  The same thing goes for expanding your network or promoting your business. 

To get more out of your LinkedIn account, the simplest thing you can do is to increase your participation and choose your focus. 

linkedin profile optimization resume update

For Owners Of B2B Companies

The keys to using LinkedIn as a tool for lead generation are establishing and developing a strong profile. Make sure your profile containing keywords and phrases. You want to draw leads to you and build up your list of connections and followers.

Your goal should be to convey a strong, professional image supportive of your brand identity. Show people what you have to offer, be confident. Own your voice!

The trick is to be authentic, share what matters to you and your company so the right following can find you.

All types of businesses can use LinkedIn as a lead-generation tool by mining competitor connections and searching for senior leaders and decision-makers at companies they are targeting,

Here are some facts and statistics about LinkedIn:

  • Total number of LinkedIn users: 645 million
  • Total number of LinkedIn business pages:  3 million
  • 88 of Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn’s to search for job candidates
  • 97.3% of staffing professionals overall use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool
  • Profiles with professionals headshots receive 14x more views.
  • Profiles with 5+ skills listed get 17x more profile views.
  • Number of standard skills available to list on LinkedIn 50,000

So, how big is LinkedIn today?

Brenda Bernstein, author of How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile writes, “In 2011, 73% of all hires sourced from social media were sourced from LinkedIn as opposed to 20% from Facebook and 7% from Twitter.” 

Today, that number has reached over 90%.

Those are some hefty metrics!  So how optimized is your profile? 

We want to see all or clients operating at top value when it comes to LinkedIn. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn optimization, our team at PWC has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca



Shifting Careers Between Freelance and Corporate

career change freelance corporate


We’ve recently been looking at the double lane highway of shifting careers between freelance and corporate life.  From the perspective of professional resume writers, we’ve definitely seen equal movement between these 2 career directions.

Without question, transitioning from life at a corporate firm to working freelance is a HUGE life change. The greatest technique is in all the individual action steps taken to create a strong outcome. Successes certainly live in the daily grind.

Write a plan of action.

This helps maintain accountability and keep you on track.

If you’re not entirely familiar with the details of a business plan, that’s perfectly fine.  Think of your plan like a map. Begin with goal setting. Outline short-term and long-term goals and place them into a loose chronological order, the specific dates matter less than the actual structure.

Don’t burn any bridges.

Although it’s tempting to skip gleefully out of the door on your last day in the office telling everybody how great your new life is going to be, don’t.  You never know when you might need these contacts again, not to mention references from your employer. Leaving with a recommendation is never a bad outcome. 

Friendly reminder: The world is a very small place. and you never know where your future clients may be. 

Network.

This may sound dramatic but, ultimately you need to make sure EVERYONE knows you are going freelance: ex-colleagues, friends, old classmates, that neighbor with a beard.  Everyone.  Remember, getting work once you go freelance can take longer than imagined so build-up a client base in all ways possible.

Work is much more likely to come through known contacts. That’s just the nature of humans in general. We work with who we know and trust.

Network as much as possible, both in person and on social media.

Speak to friends or acquaintances who have made the leap to freelancing. These people are valuable resources for advice not just on those first few weeks starting out, but for the long haul.

Essentially freelancing is building your personal brand. 

This is a fact. Fortunately, there is ample information out there on the specifics of personal branding.  Quickprout has a nice guide that summarizes the process giving actionable items that help map the route. A quick Google tour will land you in front of some seriously good content for designing and managing your own personal brand.

Utilize social media.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all useful tools. Additionally, if your LinkedIn profile isn’t yet optimized, get it there.  Our team is highly skilled at LinkedIn optimizations that show clients in their best light possible.  This is mandatory in today’s workforce.

Optimize linkedin profile

94% of recruiters are searching for talent on LinkedIn. Use this tool.

Lastly, consider starting a blog. Yes, they are timely but well-designed search engine optimized (SEO) blogs are a great way to drive attention towards your website. This, in turn, builds an audience and potential client base.

Don’t be shy about putting your business out there.

Now, if you find yourself on the highway heading back to corporate structures then the strategy is dramatically different. At this point, your resume must highlight all the unique skills acquired as a freelancer plus reflect positively on the actual time away from the workforce.

As always Power Writers Canada is here to help guide you through the steps. Resume Writing, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization and Recruiter Resume Distribution are all available from our team at PWC. Connect with us for a free consultation and resume review! Paragraph

Unquestionably, unless you are a writing wizard, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional resume writer now.  Freelance skills are diverse and translating all the detailed specifics to corporate necessity is key to your resume making it through ATS and recruiter processes.