6 Tools to Help Launch Your Job Search

33-1239554996g5JoThere are eight or so key items you need to launch a successful job search (see Why You Need a Job Search Marketing Toolkit). This includes a few key documents you will need to draft (such as your resume, cover letters and thank you letters). If you’ve drafted a resume, you know how difficult this can be (and if you haven’t, you know it will be challenging). Other key items you will need are your network, references and target markets/companies. Even if you have a version of your resume, it is probably wise to take another look and update it as necessary (another great resource is 5 Steps to a Great Resume).

The good news is that you don’t need to go it alone. There are tools you can use that will help you create most (if not all) of you documents and lists. The sites listed below are purely very high level reviews, CareerAlley does not endorse or get paid for listing any of the sites reviewed below.

Resume Writing Tools: There are lots of resume writing tools out there, some are free and some are not.  Is a “fee based” resume writing tool better? Not necessarily.  Following are three tools for your review.

  • FormSwift for Resumes – FormSwift’s Resume Builder is also great for any job seeker. Our builder takes you section by section, line by line, so all you have to do is input your experiences. Once you are done filling out your personal info, the builder formats your resume for you, taking the stress out of worrying if your header is too large or your typeface too small. Once again, this builder is completely free – allowing you to experiment with different word choice for different job applications.
  • ResumeGenius – Sample phrases, templates and guides are the main selling points of ResumeGenius. This is not a free site, so you will want to look at the various costs (at the end of this paragraph) before you complete your template. You also do not have to register if you do not want to. Start off quickly by clicking the “Write my resume now” button, next pick your template (if in doubt, select Classic for now). Next you will start to fill in the main sections of your resume (tabs for Contact Info, Work Experience, Eduction and Additional Skills. You can preview your resume as you go, add sections (I would like to point out is that “Career Objective” is generally not used anymore although it is offered as a section), save at any time as well as select the option for a professional to help write your resume (at a cost). One thing to note is that it will cost you $1.95 to download your resume and have 14 days of full access, after which you will be automatically charged $39.95 per month (unless you select the Monthly Access option for $7.95).  Whether or not the cost is worth it is a personal decision.  You could opt for the $1.95 14 day trial and cancel after that (or use one of the free services).
  • How to Write a Resume – This site offers both a step by step resume builder as well as a cover letter tool. Start by clicking the “Start Now” and then either create a free account or log on via a variety of sites (like Facebook, Google, etc.). Once you log on, click Resume Builder and start to build your resume. There are categories on the left hand side of the screen for the different sections of your resume. Some sections allow you to use a template or you can enter the information as you see fit. There are some aspects of the site that are not free (like including references). You will also need to pay extra to get your resume or cover letter in Word or PDF format (the free option in text or html format).  If you click the “click here for the full feature list”, you can see the free features versus the features that will cost extra. It looks like these are one-time fees (rather than the monthly fees that ResumeGenius charges). There is also a cover letter builder that works in a similar fashion.

 

Cover Letter Tools:

  • FormSwift for Cover Letters – FormSwift’s Cover Letter Builder is great for any job seeker. The formatting is all pre-organized and you can change the letter copy by choosing which career stage process you are at – college student, new job seeker, returning professional, etc. Then all you have to do is input a few key words and phrases for each paragraph that personalize your story and, voila, your cover letter is all done! Last but not least, our builder is completely free, so you can make as many copies and edits as you would like, which is perfect for someone running on a tight budget while applying for jobs.
  • SmartCoverLetter – Before you get started, read “What Makes a Good Cover Letter?” included on their home page. Also, this is not a free site and you will want to look at the costs before you take the time to complete the template. This overview provides some great insight into why a cover letter (not just any cover letter, but a good one) is so important. Start by clicking the “Create Letter” button, fill in your contact info and get started. Next you will see the body of (an incomplete) cover letter. You can click to fill in each section or change the template by selecting “Select Design” from the top of the page. Exporting will cost you $4.95 for 7 days and then $39.95 per month.
  • The Pain-Free Cover Letter Builder -This is not so much a site as it is a free guide. The guide is very good and not too long (and it is actually free).  While not a tool to guide you through the process, the guide is worth a read.

 

Book Corner:

 

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Joey

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5 Hot Careers in Financial Services

jobs on fireThe dark days of the 2008 financial crisis are far behind us and, while I doubt that working  in Financial Services will ever be as lucrative as it was prior to 2008, it is certainly one of the higher paying industries. The last few years has seen renewed hiring and there are plenty of opportunities if you know where to look. If you are already working in financial services, thinking about moving into financial services or considering career opportunities, there are some hot careers that you should consider.

Compliance –

  • What They Do –Compliance Officers oversee the Corporate Compliance Program, functioning as an independent and objective body that reviews and evaluates compliance issues/concerns within the organization.  Many of these are driven by regulatory requirements while others are considered “best practice”. They develop, initiate and maintain policies and procedures for organization and its related activities to prevent illegal, unethical, or improper conduct.
  • How Much They Make – This, of course, depends on their background and experience. Many compliance officers are trained lawyers and, as such, will command higher compensations. Others who are career compliance may not make as much, but that varies as well. According to USnews.com, the median salary is approximately $60,740.  Salary survey here ==>> Compliance Officer
  • Education and Training Requirements – Most compliance officers have college degrees and, as indicated above, many of them are trained lawyers. Much, of course, depends on the role. You can find some of the requirements at the following link ==>>How to Become a Compliance Officer

 

Risk Officer –

  • What They Do –Risk officers are responsible for the governance and management necessary to identify, evaluate, mitigate, and monitor the company’s financial risk. Develops &/or utilizes financial risk management tools and practices to analyze and report on financial market risks. Monitors the organization’s financial risk management policies, limits to ensure that they are in compliance with applicable regulations and industry standards.
  • How Much They Make – Compensation has a broad range, depending on the position responsibilities and level. The lower end is approximately $60,000 while management levels are in the mid to high $100,000 range. Salary survey here ==>>Risk Management Salaries
  • Education and Training Requirements – As with most of these positions, a college degree is a must have (difficult without one). You can find some of the requirements at the following link ==>>Financial Risk Manager

 

Asset Managers

  • What They Do –Asset managers offer financial advice to individuals, organizations and corporations. While they generally work within a team that includes tax and estate planning professionals, they may also recommend investment portfolio solutions.
  • How Much They Make – According to glassdoor.com, the median salary is $75,000 and can go well above $100,000. Salary survey here ==>> Asset Manager Salaries
  • Education and Training Requirements – Generally speaking, you don’t start your career as an asset manager. You typically work your way up through an organization, providing support to asset management professionals with the goal of becoming one yourself. You can find some of the requirements at the following link ==>>How to Become an Asset Manager

 

Investment Banking Analyst  –

  • What They Do –Analysts are typically hired directly out of college and start their career in a training program.  Analysts are the lowest level in investment banking and generally do the bulk of the work.  They prepare presentations, complex analysis, industry/company research and perform administrative tasks.
  • Education and Training Requirements – Doubtful you will get into this line of work without a college degree. The better the school (and your grades), the better your chances. You can find some of the requirements at the following link ==>>How To Become An Investment Bank Analyst

 

Financial Auditor –

  • What They Do –Financial auditors plan audits to assess internal control effectiveness, review compliance with applicable regulations, ensure standard accounting practices and corporate accounting policies are followed and provide recommendations that create greater efficiencies / controls in terms of operations and financial reporting.
  • How Much They Make – According to recruiter.com, auditors generally earn between $48,000 and $72,000 depending on experience and industry.  Salary survey here ==>> Salary for Auditors
  • Education and Training Requirements – You can find some of the requirements at the following link ==>>

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Joey

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5 Tips for Creating a Professional LinkedIn Profile

images-2While a traditional resume and cover letter is still an essential part of the job application and interview process, social media profiles have quickly started to play an important role in the job search procedural expectations.

Because of the importance and accessibility of an effective LinkedIn bio, it’s critical that you provide a professional representation of yourself in order to have the best chance of being landing a job.

By having an exceptional bio, you will be able to display you career expertise, professionalism and allow a potential employer to have a better understanding of who you are. When it comes to creating a persuasive LinkedIn bio, there are a few important factors to consider.

Be Professional

While this might seem a little obvious, you definitely need to make your LinkedIn bio as professional as you can. Considered to be the social media outlet of the business world, LinkedIn is generally used as a networking platform for professionals of all kinds.

Because of this, the importance of a professional bio cannot be stressed enough. The last thing that you want to do is have offensive comments, pictures or quotes posted on your social media account that can be seen by a potential employer. Your profile should be clean, direct and relatively non-personal.

Illustrate Who You Are

The main objective of a professional LinkedIn profile is to describe what separates you from the other job applicants. Speaking on the topic, Neal Schaffer, a consultant for social media networking says that you should “showcase your strengths and what differentiates you from others”. When it comes to this part of the bio creation process, it can be extremely difficult to convey your message in a way that grabs an employer’s attention.

This is especially true for college gradates that may not have any previous experience, but are desperately trying to find a job. In this case, a college student should describe what makes them different from other students. By including specific areas that you have studied, your GPA and certain awards that you have won, you will be able to separate yourself from the competition.

Be Keyword Specific

According to Schaffer, a keyword can be anything that is “associated with your experience that would be valuable for the next job that you have”. Because certain keywords are important to a recruiter, prospective employers will actually search your LinkedIn profile for specific words and phrases. Keywords can range from specific job experiences that you already have, are looking for, a description of previous jobs and responsibilities, former job titles and qualifications.

Keywords are, well, key. Take a look at Understanding the Importance of Keywords in Your Job Search

If you need additional information on keywords, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society

Use Relevant Information

When it comes to the different social media options, the main two differences between a LinkedIn bio and a Facebook or Twitter profile is the permitted length and level of professionalism. For instance, a Twitter account will only allow you to use 160 characters where LinkedIn allows for an entire business profile to be created.

Because of this you might think it’s better to fill up your profile as much as possible, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. While you definitely want to provide as much detailed information as possible, you don’t want to create a profile that contains information that is not relevant to the job search process.

In order to create the most effective bio that you can, try to keep the information limited to job experiences, educational background, industry experience and specific qualifications.

Show Some Personality

It’s important to showcase some of your personality through the LinkedIn bio that you create. This will help give a prospective employer a better understanding of who you are and whether you will fit into their specific working environment. As long as the information is professional and communicated in a professional tone, the majority of employers would like to get a better feel for your personality.

Some acceptable information to express your personality would include sports related interests, hobbies, family background, national heritage, favorite foods, music preferences and movie genres that you enjoy.

Book Corner – How To Build the ULTIMATE LinkedIn Profile In Under An Hour: Boost Your Branding

Author’s Bio
Emily Lucas is experienced freelance writer, college ranking expert and blogger. While being a lecturer in several high school institutions. Her areas of interests are very wide, but mostly she writes for educational websites and blogs.

This is a Guest post.

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5 Tips for Successful Job Search Networking

7975205041_74f85a53a9_oAs you add contacts (or renew old contacts) during your job search, you should also “refresh” your relationships on a regular basis while looking for a job. This is important for everyone, but especially if you are currently unemployed.

The “refresh” approach for each contact will depend on the nature of the relationship. For friends, relatives and business acquaintances, it is as easy as reminding them that you’re out there looking for a job. If they know you they already know that you are looking for a job, so a simple email (or phone call) will usually suffice. For recruiters, a phone call (asking them if they have any leads) or an email (maybe with an updated resume or a brief on any pending interviews) should do the trick.

While there are no hard and fast rules for job search networking, there are a few guidelines you should consider:

Recruiters

  • Recruiters who already know you – Refreshing your relationships should be easy. A phone call or email letting them know that you are actively looking for a job should suffice.  If using email, you should include a brief overview of your job search parameters as well as a recent copy of your resume.  Followup with a phone call in a week.  Once the relationship is reestablished, a once per month email should be fine.  Do not stalk your recruiters, it will not help.
  • New Recruiters – If you are reaching out to a new recruiter, include detailed information on your background, details on your search criteria and an updated resume (a very specific form of a cover letter or introductory letter).  Suggest that you will call within the next week to review your background.

 

Current Connections -

  • Friends & Family: This group is your most important support and networking group. These people know you the best and are the most likely to help leverage their connections to help you find a job. Make sure these contacts are current.  Phone calls, emails and maybe a quick coffee will work.
  • Former Colleagues: While the group above know you the best as an individual, former colleagues know what you do and how you do it. Their recommendations will be the most important and their leads and connections are the most likely to fit your career requirements. Make sure you connect with them, give them a summary of your job requirements.

 

New Connections

  • Former Colleagues (who may not know you) – The best source for this is LinkedIn, where you can look at all contacts across an organization.  Another source (and probably the better strategy) are the contacts you already have from former employers.  Look at their contacts for some leads. If possible, ask your contacts to introduce you to those former colleagues you do not know first hand.
  • People who don’t know you – These are people that you will meet at networking events, industry trade groups, job search support groups and career fairs. Try to join those groups that make the most sense for you.

Some links to networking which provide a few views/tactics for keeping your network “fresh”.

  • Riley Guide on Networking – This article from the Riley Guide provides an excellent review of networking. What it is, how to do it and what it isn’t. The article provides a number of additional links on associated topics.
  • Successful Job Search Networking – This About.com article provides another view on networking (formal versus informal) as well as a long list of additional resources. The article mentions that 60% of all jobs are filled via networking (I’ve heard as high as 80% as well).
  • The Art of Career and Job-Search Networking – Quintcareers also has a page dedicated to networking and they also stress that this is probably the most important part of your search methods. They provide detail on networking on the web, networking groups (like Diversity, Women, Military, etc.) as well as some publications on the topic.
  • The Social Network as a Career Safety Net – This NY Times article provides a real-life example of how social networking helped someone find other opportunities. While the current job market environment is likely to make it more difficult than the success of the individual in the article, it does stress the importance of networking.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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6 Tips for Common Interview Mistakes

Oops! Road SignInterviewing is a two way street and your success will depend on your ability to answer the questions asked and asking the right questions. You need to listen to what the interviewer is saying and respond with answers that will convince them that you are the right person for the job. Facial expressions, eye contact and keywords that match the job description are all very important in the interview process.When you show up unprepared for a job interview, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Recruiters and HR professionals are checking out everything from the way you’re dressed to whether you’ve researched the company, and they’re making mental – or actual – notes along the way. Assuming you understand the importance of a professional appearance and how critical it is to do your homework about a company before the day of your interview, here’s a look at some tips to utilize to maximize your chances of landing that dream job.

 

Focus on the Facts

You know the old saying – “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” (Benjamin Franklin). If you cannot answer the questions raised at the interview, then why are you there?  Make sure you read as much as possible. While you want to appear confident in your interview, you want to avoid coming off overly confident, because this could raise a red flag to the recruiter that you might not work well as part of a team. When you’re peppered with questions, answer them succinctly and factually, and avoid unnecessary fluff.

 

Stay Cool and Collected

If you’re the type of person who tends to ramble when you’re nervous, you’re not alone. Doing so can make the interviewer nervous, however, because they might expect you to behave in the same manner when dealing with their clients. The best way to calm those nerves is to show up thoroughly versed in the company, and prepared to answer whatever they ask. Conduct a mock interview for yourself, and prepare answers for the questions you’ll most likely be asked during the real deal.

 

Don’t Hesitate to Request More Time, if Necessary 

Sometimes, recruiters and HR professionals will throw random or difficult questions at you that you hadn’t planned for in an attempt to see how you handle pressure. Rather than stutter until you come up with something, go ahead and ask for a little more time, or see if you can return to that particular question at the close of the interview.

 

Leave the Cigarettes at Home

You know the old saying – “you only get one change to make a good first impression”. Even if you regularly carry gum, mints, and perfume, leave those smokes at home. Many people consider smoking a repulsive habit, and even if they don’t, they may not want to hire someone who’s going to take hourly cigarette breaks.

 

Prepare Technologically, and Prepare Well 

If a presentation is part of your interview process, make sure you’ve tested whatever technology you’re using, and that you know how to work it. Nothing looks more unprofessional than bumbling around with a machine while your interviewer looks on impatiently.

 

When to Have the Salary Talk

Bringing up salary during a primary interview is like going for a good night kiss at the beginning of a first date; most people generally aren’t receptive to it. Keep those questions to yourself for the time being—you don’t want to look like you’re interested in only one thing. It’s wise to get at least a rough idea of the salary a job offers before you show up for the interview. Not only can discussing salary with the interviewer be uncomfortable, but you may also find out that it’s not enough for your needs, in which case you’ve wasted both of your time.

By staying calm and collected during the interview process and making the aforementioned considerations, you’re that much more likely to receive the phone call – and the job offer – you’ve been looking for.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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