Career & Coffee

Resume Writing, Job Search, Industry News and Erin’s weekly musings on all things career.

Social Marketing… What are you waiting for? June 15, 2009

There are die hards out there who still insist the best way to get a job is the old fashion way– newspaper ads and word-of-mouth. While I agree on the word-of-mouth (a.k.a. networking) point, let’s face it, the reality of finding a “career” through a newspaper ad is slim.

So, if you are still unfamiliar with social marketing/networking and online branding/profiles, I will give you the 101 basics on how to get started online with fast results.

1. I know I sound like a broken record here, but join LinkedIn. LinkedIn will open doors for you that you never thought possible. Originally started as a professional networking tool, LinkedIn is now being used by employers to seek out job seekers! How do they do this? They type in the keywords of candidate characteristics in the search box. If their words match up with the keywords on your profile, guess what?  You have officially become a contender. You can also research companies online, network with employees that WORK at that company and look for current job openings. Utilize LinkedIn as much as you can. You will be amazed at the results you get.

2. Join Twitter. If you are an entrepreneur, have a small business of some sort or are a job seeker, Twitter is a wonderful way to connect fast with all sorts of people. You build your network by following others who in return, follow you. It sounds strange at first until you get going. I created my profile in November, but didn’t see the value of Twitter until the following January when I started really connecting with colleagues and jobseekers, plus all sorts of other interesting folks. You can spread the word that you are job searching. The bigger your “follower” list is, the more people will know this and keep their eyes and ears open for you. I just read a great post about a college grad who got a job within just a couple of weeks of joining Twitter. Read it. Then join Twitter.

3. Facebook is a great way to connect with lots of people and get a little more personal with them. With the option of adding pictures, videos, quizzes and applications, you let the other person see more into your personal life–if you want them to. Many companies have their own Facebook pages that you can research.  Again, another great networking tool.

4. Another one I think everyone should do is to set up a Google profile. It is a basic profile with facts about you on Google. You will be able to control, or at least add to, what people see when the ‘Google’ you. Put up a professional picture and add a little bio. It adds to your online presence.

There are also Naymz, Plaxo, Ning, Ecademy, and many, many more.

As with anything, there are a few rules to keep in mind when doing your online networking. NEVER ever say anything you wouldn’t want a perspective employer to know. Remember that hiring managers ARE GOOGLING YOU and an unsavory post on any of your networking sites may come back to haunt you. And PLEASE do not post any pictures that you wouldn’t want your Grandmother (or an employer) to see. Be smart. Keep it professional.


Searching the Hidden Job Market May 27, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Interviewing,Job Search,Networking — erinkennedy @ 12:00 am
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In a climate like the one we are in, it’s easy to feel like we will never find the job we want, or that ‘no one is hiring‘. However, you can increase your chances of landing multiple interviews if you can tap into the “hidden” job market, or, the one that hasn’t been advertising. Contacting the companies/contacts directly makes a much more powerful impact then random online resume posting to (some useless) job sites.

How do you do this? Have a plan! This may take a little longer, but it’s the best way to control your job search, land quality interviews and increase your pay scale.

1)  Get your online presence together. Chances are, if you are going to be Google-ing companies, they will Google you. Create a Google profile or a LinkedIn profile and put your brand out there for the employer to see. Show your stuff.

2)  Make a list of your target information– industry choice, job position, company listings, etc.

3) Do a Google search on your industry and job titles. There may be quite a few, but you can weed through what you like and don’t like. You can also do a local business search with the same requirements and see what you come up with.

4) Send your resume directly to the hiring person. This is usually the person who is 2-4 levels above where you see yourself within the company. Make sure your cover letter is short and concise.

If this method makes you squirm a little, remember that you will see significantly higher results than you would normally. It’s also good to move beyond your comfort zone. Clients who’ve used it report more interviews, quicker interview cycles and less competition. It is more effective than blindly submitting your resume to lots of job search engines AND it reduces your anxiety of not knowing if the person who you want to see it really saw it or not.

In the end, it will give you greater job search confidence and renewed excitement about the process. Try it and see. Then let me know how it went.


Tips for Scoring at a Job Fair May 21, 2009

Many of you know that I was at the Detroit “Good Morning America / Women for Hire” job fair the other day. There were about 25 résumé evaluators and approximately 5000 job seekers. They literally were lined up outside the doors at 3:30am. Talk about motivated people. Wow. What a busy, productive and fulfilling day.

It was televised (GMA and local ABC news crew) and there were camera people everywhere. Sort made us feel like movie stars except the cameras really weren’t on us, and we didn’t get paid. But still.

All of us

(This is a group photo of the other resume writers/critiquers who donated their time at the job fair. From L to R:

Deb James, ME (in black), Dee Duff, Karen D’Anna, Kris Plantrich and Lisa Chapman. A smart, generous and fabulous group of women. We had a great time!)

I was really impressed by the amount of professionalism, ambition and previous success that most of the folks had. There were just a few people that could have used a few pointers. So here they are:

1-      DRESS AS IF YOU ARE AT AN INTERVIEW. Appropriate dress is really a MUST at a job fair. I know you already know this, but I thought I’d mention it again. You know the saying, “First Impressions are a Must”, well they really are.  I saw some people that looked gorgeous and really ‘wow’ed’ me. THAT is how you have to look. Not saying you have to go spend a fortune on new clothes. You can put together a new outfit from what you have. Wash your hair, do your nails, trim your nose/ear hair, you know… the usual. And if you have dread-locks, tuck them into your suit.

2-      HAVE A RÉSUMÉ PREPARED. (and if at all possible, have it professionally done). Yes, I saw many, many résumés and only about 5% of them were impressive. Remember, lead with your accomplishments, not your job description duties. The Microsoft Word résumé template was used in about 80% of the cases (yuck) I saw at the job fair. Remember, that is a template that doesn’t allow much give, so you may be cutting some significant info out because it won’t fit into the “template”. DON’T USE IT.

3-      BRING A SMALL BAG, TOTE OR BRIEFCASE. You will be bombarded with giveaways (pens, company trinkets, business cards, candy, brochures, etc.). It will be easier to carry everything and your résumé portfolio.

4-      GET A BUSINESS CARD FROM EVERYONE YOU SPOKE WITH. You might want to follow up with something you talked about. Even better, after you’ve talked with them, write down some key things you spoke about on the back of the card so you will have it to reference when you call, or if they call you!

5-      KNOW THE COMPANIES. Find out what companies will be there and get to know a little about them. Nothing impresses companies more then when you display the knowledge you have about them. Show off a little bit. Impress them!

6-      GET INTO A GOOD MOOD. I had a few folks come sit down with me who were shaking and I wasn’t even the hiring person! People can tell if you are nervous, distracted, moody, having a bad day, etc. That isn’t the best first impression to offer. Instead relax, smile, speak slowly and clearly (vs. rushing through what you want to say), and remember, the HR person knows you are nervous and understands. So try to relax and enjoy yourself. Fake it if you have to.

Job Fairs don’t have to be a bad/scary/nerve wracking thing. Remember, it’s just another avenue to try out in the midst of your job search. You get to meet new people, learn a few things about different companies, and have free coffee.


Brand New Website! May 19, 2009

Brand New Web Site                                           

I have been MIA lately… it’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog, I really have, it’s just that I’ve been doing something really exciting and had to wait until it was completed until I could blog again. It was worth the wait.

I launched a new website.

It’s been a long time coming.

For those of you who had to double check what you spelled when you realized the page you were on looked nothing like my old site, it really is the same company, Professional Résumé Services.

We’ve improved!!

I’ve had a vision in my head for a long time of what I wanted my new site to look like, but kept putting it off because it seemed like a lot of work, time, money, effort, work, time, time, time…

Then I met Carl Chapman.

Not only is Carl an SEO expert, designer and all around nice guy, but he also creates very cool websites. I took a look at a couple of sites he’s created and thought… SOLD! He has made this a very painless process and took over all of the work I thought I’d have to do (my old web host really didn’t do a thing for me except charge me a lot each month in fees—buh bye!). I like not having to think all of the time on what I could be doing to improve my site. We are all busy, so you can relate. I’ve never delegated a thing in my life. But hiring Carl has been wonderful. Ahhhhh.

So, now I have this new website that showcases what I offer, is fun to look at, and easy to maneuver through. Plus, I’ve been able to add things to the site I always wanted and it has allowed me to expand my product and services offerings.

Having said that, I hope you stop by my site and let me know what you think of it.

Here is the link:

Until next time…


Why I love LinkedIn (and why you should, too!) April 17, 2009

Filed under: Job Search,Networking — erinkennedy @ 12:27 am
Tags: , , ,

Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways…

LinkedIn has become my new favorite thing. It is the fast growing professional networking site with 30 million users in 150 different industries. It helps open doors and uncover opportunities on a broad spectrum while building contacts and relationships.

I am constantly asking clients,

“Have you joined LinkedIn yet?” or

“Have you beefed up that LinkedIn profile yet?” or

“If you don’t have the time, let me know and I’ll do it for you— just make sure you do it!”

By now you can probably sense my passion about the site. I’ve only lately become overzealous about LinkedIn because of some very useful information I’ve heard at conferences AND because of the success my clients have had with it.

Did you know that some employers are hiring directly from within LinkedIn? Some are also posting their job openings ONLY on LinkedIn. This is a big deal especially since the majority of these companies are huge.

LinkedIn also has other benefits:

1) Unlimited amount of exposure and visibility of you and your business. “Connect” with as many people as you can. If you are job searching this is a great way to network. Once you start connecting, you become visible on other people’s pages, increasing the chances of getting to the top of a page when people are looking for someone to hire.

2) Use your LinkedIn profile to research companies you would like to work for. Go to the “Companies” tab and type in the name of a company you are interested in.  Check and see if they are hiring and inquire!

3) Get help or advice. Use the “answers” section of it to pose and answer questions. Answering questions and having your answers voted as “best” or “good” boosts your creditibility and gets your name out there. Use it to get answers to just about anything. Be prepared for a lot of feedback.

4) Boost your Search Engine results. If you are a business owner, we all know it’s all about Search Engine Optimization. The great news about LinkedIn is that it allows search engines to index your profile information. Adding your LinkedIn link to your signature line while posting to other sites further strengthens your visibility to the search engines.

This is just a quick version of how LinkedIn can help job seekers and professionals. Create your profile and see for yourself.


Twitter is Twitterific for Entrepreneurs! April 6, 2009

Filed under: Networking — erinkennedy @ 11:11 am

I joined Twitter in January.

I joined because I was feeling pressure to do so from clients, colleagues and well… Anderson Cooper.  Every night when watching “AC 360”, the fabulous Mr. Cooper would say, “Follow Me on Twitter!”. I thought, “Why does Andy (my nickname for the handsome-Ms.Vanderbuilt’s-son) want the world to follow him on Twitter? And what is so special about Twitter anyway?”

At first I just didn’t get it.

Then, when someone I really respect and admire,  Women for Hire’s Tori Johnson, “followed” me I sat up and paid attention. From then on, it’s been a daily ritual to go to Twitter first thing in the morning and “tweet” a few sentences, and on and off throughout the day.

I’m not going to say I am the pro with Twitter yet, but here are a few things I can tell you right away:

1- Your visibility is limitless. You can literally reach an unlimited amount of viewers. It all depends on how many followers you have. When I first joined, I had no idea how to go about getting more followers. But now it seems like every other post on Twitter is about how to get more followers. I like Mr. Tweet because it picks out 200 potential followers for you and you can pick and choose.

2. You can promote your business. Everyone promotes their business on Twitter. Doing it in moderation is the best choice. I know there are a few that promote endlessly and sometimes it gets to be too much. I mean, how many times can one person tweet about colon cleansing? You would be surprised. Keep it to a few times a day. I try to do a “Tip of the Day” at least once a day. I don’t always get it in there, but try for every day.

3. Creating Relationships Builds your Business. When replying to ‘tweets’ or ‘retweeting‘ someone elses tweet, it creates a relationship with that person and they are more likely to ‘retweet’ something you said, which will increase your visibility. Plus, it’s a great way to gain new business. I’ve gotten quite a few new resume clients since being on Twitter. I’ve also just gotten to know people and created new friendships. Sometimes working in a home-based office can be isolating, so it’s nice to be able to “talk” with other business owners.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on the benefits of Twitter for your small business. There are also lots of different applications to use as well as loads and loads of articles on Google.

Social media is the hottest new trend and one of the fastest ways to build your business. Give Twitter a try. You’ll quickly become addicted. 🙂

Erin Kennedy


Networking when Shy March 13, 2009

Filed under: Networking — erinkennedy @ 6:55 pm
Tags: , ,
How to Network if You are on the Shy side

I am the first to admit that networking with a bunch of strangers is not easy when you are shy. Early in my career, I was in sales (seriously) and would literally have to force myself to cold call. It was daily torture. I finally admitted to myself that maybe I was in the wrong field, and no, it was not hereditary (many family members were in sales). I was never that suave, chatty, BS’er-type that seemed to dominate my lineage.

Networking when you are shy is worse than a root canal.

I understand this first hand. So, when you would rather scrub your toilet then walk into a company that has never heard of you, here are a few different things you can do to help you cope with and overcome this predicament.

1) Join LinkedIn. The fabulous benefit of LinkedIn is that you can literally cold call without ever having to be face-to-face with a living being. Simply look up a company in the directory and send your resume to whoever is in charge. How easy was that?? Now, what I would really advise would be to find someone in your network, or one of your connection’s network, and ask them for the name of someone first. Then send that person an email and begin a dialogue. I can go on and on about LinkedIn. Most of you know I am obsessed with it. If you would like to know more, send me an email go here.

2) Join a Local Business Organization. The beauty of a joining a local organization (either business or volunteer) is two-fold. Or maybe tri-fold. Is that a word? Yes, but for a closet door. Anyway, I will make it work in this situation.

A- You can go and sit at a table and have a nice breakfast/lunch/dinner where minimal attention will be paid to you (unless you stand up and introduce yourself, and c’mon you can do that) and still get to know the organization, feel productive, and get excited because you got out of your comfort zone.
Once you are in that comfy place, you will start talking with people and slowly begin making new contacts/acquaintances/friends that you wouldn’t have made sitting at home in front of your computer posting your resume on the useless
C- Now that you are talking with people, you can tell them what you do for a living, find out what they do and see if you connect anywhere.

On a personal note: I joined my local Optimists organization when I got out of college and worked for the career center as a Career Counselor. Within a year of initiation, they recruited me to be President of our Chapter, which encompassed two cities. Talk about being nervous… (but that was with public speaking, and I had to get over it quick… that is a whole different story).
Let me tell you though, the contacts I made during that time were with professionals I still talk with to this day.

3) Tell everyone you know that you are job searching. Even if you are embarrassed about it or don’t want anyone to know that either you lost your job or your job is in jeopardy, or whatever the case may be, tell them. People like to help and you really never know who may know someone that you need to know. The stories my clients tell me about who helped them get their jobs are always priceless. Your dry cleaner? Your mail person? Your colleague? Yes, I’ve heard of all these great stories and more.

Networking is the #1 way to get a job, so even if it hurts a little, get out there and tell them who you are.