Category Archives: Guide for Job Seekers

Building Your Network

Develop your network of contacts by:

  • Making a list of all the people you know personally, professionally, or from school.
    • Include family members, classmates, neighbors, your kids’ teachers, co-workers, professional or social organizations, people you speak to at the dog park, who go to the same salon, etc.
    • Research contact information on-line to find out how to communicate with the people on your list. Some ways to do this are to:
      • Join LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) and set up a profile. Don’t just phone it in, really spend some time building an awesome profile.
      • Start a Facebook account (www.facebook.com) for professional contacts and networking. Include job titles, former employers, the names of schools you attended, and organizational affiliations.
        • If you have a personal Facebook account, consider using the available privacy settings to close your account to anyone outside your personal circle.
        • Do not post anything that might make you look bad. Stay positive, avoid controversial topics such as politics, religion, and money.
      • Network with potential contacts, business owners, and others Twitter. Twitter is a social networking site that allows people to share information through 140-character messages called tweets.
    • In addition to providing the means to research your contacts, these activities will increase your web presence and provide benefits such as 24 hour, 7 day a week accessibility and an easy and inexpensive way to market your brand.
  • Setting a weekly goal for networking contacts. Let your contacts know that you are looking for a job and need their help. Be clear as to the type of work you want and the skills and qualifications you bring to an organization. Have your networking or elevator speech ready whether you are emailing, calling, or run into a contact at the coffee shop.
  • Asking your contacts for leads to expand your network. For example:
    • Do you know of anyone with skills and interests similar to mine?
    • Do you have contact with anyone in a similar business or litigation area as me?
    • Do you know of anyone interested in working with or hiring a person with my skills and experience?
  • Contacting anyone identified by your contacts and ask them the same questions and more, like:
    • What separates you from the competition?
    • What significant changes have you seen take place in your professional area of expertise through the years?
    • What was the strangest or funniest incident you experienced in your practice or business?
  • Trying to get at least one name from each of your contacts and then emailing or calling the new contacts. Remember to invite each contact to connect with you on LinkedIn.

There is no end to the number of different networking building strategies available to you and any one of these strategies could serve you well. If one strategy is not working, don’t be afraid to try something else. You will find that some methods are more effective than others.

I hope that this posting will help you to spend more of your time using super effective networking methods. To get started, be brave and take the first step today.

This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects presented but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Building Your Brand

Establishing your personal brand is about identifying your characteristics, assets, strengths, and skills as an individual. Branding is a mix of how you present yourself and how others see you. It is important to be aware of how you are viewed by the personal and professional contacts in your network.

There are three key steps to building your personal brand.

  • Building self-awareness:
    1. Reflect on your past work experiences, analyze career high points and low, and idenify the common themes, habits, and trends.
    2. Focus on what was going on in your professional life at the time, the type of work you were doing, what the environment was like, and who you were working with at the time.
  • Communicate your value:
    1. Practice describing your strengths and how you use them in your professional life and communicate the value you bring to the organization, work, and co-workers, and clients.
    2. Ask yourself, what are you known for, what are you good at, what energizes and motivates you, how do you like to work (independently or as part of a team, at home or in the office, etc), and what do you want to avoid?

  • Build your reputation:
    1. Find ways to connect with the individuals and communities that fit your strengths and career aspirations. Ask your network to make introductions on your behalf whenever possible to extend your opportunities and network.
    2. Think practically about who can held you further your career aspirations, how you can network with these folks more effectively, and how to gain visibility with decision makers.

This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects presented but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

How to Keep Your Job Search on Track

240_f_92830750_5okumemuydpc5at4cx2yp8qhz5zweynaSearching for your next job or career opportunity is a challenging objective. It is essential that you stay positive even if all you feel is rejection and defeat. If you become frustrated in your job search you can end up sabotaging your efforts and wasting your time and resources.

How can you stay positive and motivated during a job search? Below are five ideas for staying on track during a frustrating job search:

Find things that excite you. Think about the things that you like to do and that make you happy. Schedule time each week, at least one day per week, to pursue your hobbies and interests. When you are engaged in these activites your mind will be occupied with happy, productive thoughts. And this feeling will last. When you return to your job search you will be energized, strong, and have a positive state of mind.

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Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Surrounding yourself with people who bring you up will keep you from feeling down. Stay close to the positive influencers in your life — your family, friends, significant others, and mentors. These people will help you to stay on track with your job search and your goals.

Follow people you don’t know but who inspire you. Whether they are authors, inspirational speakers, celebrities, successful business people, or bloggers, keep these “close by” so that you connect whenever you need a lift. Read their books or inspirational quotes, follow them on Facebook or Twitter, study their careers, and learn from their mistakes. A little inspiration can go a long way to lifing your spirits and improving your mood.

Help yourself by helping others. Helping other people is good for us. It makes us feel good. If you are feeling down, volunteering and helping other people will recharge your spirit and improve your mood.

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Exercise. Make time to exercise each day. Exercise will expel negative energy and release tension. Go for a run, take a walk with your dog, take a yoga, spin, or Zumba class, or lift weights. The point is to get moving. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make us feel happiness and pleasure.

Create structure. Each weekend, write down a plan for the upcoming week. Having a plan will give you structure and a sense of stability, control, and empowerment. Sticking with your plan will help you to feel accomplished and successful.

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects presented but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Organizational Tool: Data Worksheet

It is unquestionably necessary that you have your essential job search data available at all times. You do not know when you will be asked to complete a job application, respond to job leads, or provide reference information. Remember, any face-to-face meeting with a decision-maker may be considered an interview for a present or potential job opening. This high level of organization is absolutely necessary for any serious job seeker.

Keep a list of three KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS that best prove your ability to do the kind of work you want. These are S*T*A*R* STORIES that emphasize skills and accomplishments that support your ability to do the job you want.

S*T*A*R* stories are an interviewing technique for responding to behavioral job interview questions. The premise behind the behavior job interview is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance. With that said:

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  • “S” stands for situation. You must describe the situation with enough detail so that the interviewer understands the specific event that was at issue.
  • “T” is the task you needed to accomplish.
  • “A” is the action that you took to accomplish the task.
  • “R” are the results that you achieved. The results do not have to be yours alone if you worked with a group to resolve the task.

List your EDUCATION AND TRAINING, beginning with high school and including all formal or informal learning, workshops, military training, college, certificate programs, etc.

  • What are the names of the schools that you attended and the years of attendance.
  • What subjects and extracurricular activities, hobbies, associations, etc. relate to your employment objectives.
  • Do not forget to list any accomplishments or things you did well and any special skills learned.

Work and Volunteer History: List your most recent job first, followed by each previous position/job. Military experience, unpaid or volunteer work, and work in a family business should be included here, too. If needed, use additional sheets to cover all significant paid or unpaid work experiences.

  • Emphasize details that will help support your job objective and your interest in the present position. Include metrics (numbers, statistics, ratios, etc.) to support what you did.
  • Emphasize results you achieved, using metrics to support them whenever possible.
  • Examples are the number of people served, the number of transactions processed, the percentage of increased sales, the number of people supervised, total budget you were responsible for, percentage of increased response time to customer inquiries, etc.
  • Make sure to repeat this information in the interview to reinforce your skills for the position.

References are those people who know your work well and will report positively as to work and character. Contact past supervisors, work peers, customers, subordinates, etc. about serving as a reference for you. Tell them about the position you want and your skills and quaifications for the job. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they will say if contacted by a potential employer.  Some employers will not provide references in a phone call so ask them for a letter of reference in advance.

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If a past employer may provide a negative reference because not all partings are amicable regardless of the circumstances, negotiate what they will say in the reference. Also, get written references from others you worked with while employed by that past employer to counteract what may be a negative reference.

 

Now, get to it . . .

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Why Table Manners Still Matter: A Book Review

240_f_61521310_jyqub3jpkclu7vd4aqcyj9kdb6hd0knzTable manners are often viewed as an out-of-date, classist set of rules that have no place in the 21st century. But in his new book, Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother, chef Jeremiah Tower argues that knowing how to comport yourself over a meal can still help you get ahead.

 

240_f_108751778_v0hf6m6swbupcvctjmnuo3lumpipmvcyIn some cultures, for example, it’s considered improper to gesture while you eat. Although the rule itself might seem arbitrary, obeying it signals to your dining companion that you respect his culture, an invaluable skill in business dealings. Similarly, knowing how to properly set read and white wineglasses (both on the right side, with the red wineglass closer to the center of the table) could be an easy way to impress a boss who’s a wine buff.

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“I have found that when people approve of your table manners they think you know how to do everything else properly as well,” Tower writes. “That is how you enlist them to your side.”

 

Book review by Sarah Begley, viewed in Time Magazine, October 30, 2016

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Job Search Step 7: Emailing Potential Employers

240_f_90471323_kcanlyjnwbz3jm91wt8ylkit6hzthjarIn Job Search Step 5 we discussed treating every face-to-face meeting as though it is an interview if the person you are meeting has the authority to hire or supervise people. When writing to set up the interview — to arrange a face-to-face meeting with a decision maker — presentation is very important.

 

Cover letters are necessary whenever you send out your resume. Even if you are sending your resume to a person within your network or someone expecting to receive it (someone you met at the coffee shop, a cookout, or event at your child’s school).

Your cover letter shouldhighlight your key qualifications and explain why you are contacting the person. For example, are you writing to follow up with a person after having run into them at the grocery store, set up an informational interview, arrange for an informal meeting at a coffee shop, request consideration for a known job opening, etc. Finally, request that the person take some specific action like schedule an appointment, consider you for a particular postiion, or connect you with another decision maker.

Cover letter ingredients:

  1. Address your correspondence to a particular person. Don’t send an email addressed to “To whom it may concern” or that includes some other impersonal greeting. If you treat your correspondence like junk mail, the receiver may also treat it in that way.
  2. Proofread the document for typographical, grammatical, or other errors. Make sure that you have correctly spelled names, titles, and addresses. Call the office, check the company’s Web site, and review on-line resources like Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure you have the correct information.
  3. Personalize your correspondence. You should be targeting your job search to the position or company that interests you. Likewise, tailor your correspondence to the recipient.
  4. Your correspondence shouldn’t be fancy or fussy. It should be clear, concise, and super professional.
  5. Begin with a friendly greeting and let the person know the reason for your communication. If you were referred to the person by another, let him or her know of the referral.
  6. Research the company, business, or industry, the job opportunity, and the person with whom you are communicating. Then target your skills, experience, and relevant background  to that job opportunity or person to support your ability to do the job.
  7. Close your correspondence by stating what you will do next. End the correspondence on a postive note and let the person know what you will do next. How will you follow up with the person or make your next contact? Then do as you say you will do.
  8. Send a thank you note to every person who helps you in your job search.
    • The note can be handwritten or emailed.
    • Send the note within 24 hours after speaking with the person.
    • Include an email signature with the thank-you notes and all other correspondence.
    • Use organizational tools to keep track of your contacts and monitor/schedule your appointments.

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Now, get to it . . .

 

 

 

 

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Do You Have A Career Portfolio?

240_f_46888137_calhybynkutbp8xlv42olsgduxocjrpm-2A career portfolio is a collection of records in a paper or digital format that describes who you are and what you are capable of doing with much more detail than a resume. Think of it as your individual professional marketing plan.

You can hand pick the records that showcase your professional strengths, interests, and accomplishments and include these documents in your portfolio. These records may include your resume, mission statement, personal goals, graphs, charts, customer service comments/feedback, peer reviews, certifications, licenses, performance evaluations, writing samples/samples of your work, lists of awards, public/community service etc. If done properly, your career portfolio will provide an incredibly complete picture of you as a worker, much more so than a resume could ever do.

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Don’t send your career portfolio to every potential employer or with every resume you send in response to a job lead. If a potential employer shows interest in you, you should send anything from your career portfolio that showcases your skills and indicates that you are the person for the position.

Now, get to it . . .

 

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Job Search Step 6: Resumes, continued

240_f_111305638_61rqvmxs5d4r23ipne5zakgucgqrjavgMany employer Web sites use applicant tracking systems to manage job applications. Pay close attention to the instructions because your success depends on it.

The instructions will indicate whether you are to send your resume as an attachment to a Word file, a PDF (created with Adobe Acrobat), or as a plain-text document via email or employer Web site.

If you do not know, the steps for converting your resume to plain-text follow:

  • Save your resume with a different name and select “text only,” “ASCH,” or “Plain Text (*.txt)” in the “Save As Type” option box.
  • Reopen the file. Your word processor will have automatically reformatted your resume into Courier font, removed all formatting, and left-justified the text.
  • Reset the margins to 2 inches on the left and the right, so that you have a narrow column of text rather than a full-page width. Adjust line lengths to fit within the narrow margins by adding hard returns.
  • Review the document and fix any glitches such as odd characters that may have been inserted to take the place of “curly” quotes, dashes, accents, or other nonstandard symbols.
  • Remove any tabs and adjust the spacing as necessary. You may add extra blank spaces, move text down to the next line, or add extra blank lines for readability.
  • Consider Many of the applicant tracking systems require an applicant to upload a resume in a plain-text format. horizontal dividers to break the resume into sections. You can use a row of any standard typewriter symbols, such as *, -, (, ), =,+, >, or #.

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The file will be saved with the .txt file extension.  When you are ready ot use the file just open it, select and copy the text, and paste it into the online application or email message.

240_f_103979324_ijm3md3eokxbhekta98nuyafiyivfksoThere are three options to upload your resume onto a job board or a firm website:

  1. Copy and paste your PLAIN-TEXT RESUME:
    • Open your text only resume file,
    • Go to the resume tab and select resume,
    • Click the create resume button,
    • Select copy & paste from the drop-down list,
    • Fill in the name of your resume (it should be simple like your name and date) and your target job title,
    • Click the create button,
    • Go to Word, select your whole resume document (Ctrl+Shift+End), and copy it (Ctrl+C),
    • Go back to the resume builder option and past your resume into it (Ctrl+V),
    • Look over the resume’s appearance and make any necessary adjustments,
    • Click Save, and
    • Go back to Resumes, open the new resume, and see how it looks. Make adjustments  and resave it.
  2. Upload your Word resume:
    • Open your text only resume file,
    • Select the resume tab,
    • Click the create resume button,
    • Select Upload from the drop-down list,
    • Search for your resume on your computer using the Browse button and click to upload it, and
    • Click the Return to Resumes link and check the formatting of your uploaded resume. Fix any problems, checking closely to ensure that any bullets ad the font converted correctly.
  3. Build a new resume in the sites resume builder:
    • Select the Resume tab,
    • Click the Create Resume button,
    • Select Build from the drop-down list, and
    • Click the links for each section and fill in the details,
    • Add your skills and complete any special sections that are applicable, and
      • For best results, type the text into Word and spell-check it and
      • Paste the text into the builder window.
    • Click Save & Continue.

Now, get to it . . .

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Job Search Step 6: Resumes

 

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If you have been reading my posts, it should be clear that mailing out your resume “en masse” is not an effective job search technique. Networking and conducting a targeted job search should be your goal. But regardless of the type of job search you undertake, you will need a resume.

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Most resumes follow a chronological format and list the most recent employment experience at the top, followed by the immediately preceding job. This format is best for job searchers looking for a job similar to a presently or previously held position.

 

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Sections of a chronological resume:

  1. State your name and contact information. Do not use nicknames or abbreviations. You must include your telephone number, email address, linked address, and other contact options.
    • Create an email account to use exclusively for your job search. The user name must be professional. An appropriate user name looks something like john.doe@gmail.com or john doe.us@live.com.
    • You must have a reliable contact telephone number with voice mail. The outgoing message should be professional and straightforward. This means no background noise like music or children/dogs or quotes from spiritual sources.
  2. Make a profile statement.
    • One type provides your employment identity, the areas of your greatest contribution, specialty or key industry, and key qualifications, strengths, or skills. An example is: “Experienced Customer Service Professional with a strong track record of success in retail sales offers extensive fashion industry knowledge, engaging communication skills, and undeniable relationship-building abilities.”
    • The other type lists the industry of your targeted company, the name of the target company, a description of the perceived need of the target company and/or the desired postiion, and a value proposition. For example: “For high-end retailers like Nordstrom’s that need customer-focused sales associates, I offer 10 years of award-winning customer service success, a keen eye for fashion, and an uncompromised commitment to total customer satisfaction.”
  3. Include a skills summary. Use keywords from the job posting to demonstrate your current and relevant abilities. Be specific about your skills, competencies, or strengths. Include the total years of experience. For example:
    • Customer Service: 15 years
    • Retail Sales: 10 years
    • Styling: 7 years
    • Supervision: 12 years
  4. List your employment history.
    • You must include the name of all employers in the last 10 years, job titles, location of work places, and the dates of employment.
    • You may include a description of the employer, tasks and responsibilities, accomplishments and/or achievements, and any special projects.
  5. Provide your education, certifications, and credentials.

Another type of resume format is a skills resume. This type of resume is useful when there is a gap in your employment or when you are intending to change careers. The skills resume emphasizes your transferable skills, not your work history. The skills resume begins with an extensive summary of skills grouped under relevant headings. Note: Some employers do not like the skills resume format because of the lack of description of current and previous employment.

A third type of resume is a combination resume. A combination resumes begins with a description of your skills and includes a chronological list of your work history.

This is an opportunity for you to “toot your own horn.” Now, get to it . . .

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Job Search Step 5: Manage Your Job Search

Any face-to-face contact with a person with the authority to hire or supervise an employee, even if there is no job opening at the time of the meeting, is an interview. Many of the articles I’ve seen on the internet claim that something like 40% of job seekers report finding jobs in this way.

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Regardless of the accuracy of this statistic, you should consider changing your definition of an interview. The reason is simple: If you can interview with potential employers before a job opens up or is advertised you are more like to be considered for the positions when they do become available.

 

Finding a Job is a Job. Whether you are currently employed, unemployed, or underemployed, job search is tough and requires an extensive time commitment. To be effective, you will need a solid, thoughtful plan.

  1. Make time in your schedule to spend at least 20 hours a week looking for your next position. This means committing 20 hours of your week to targeted job search activities.
  2. Prepare a daily schedule so that you stay on task and productive each day. Don’t just  make a to-do list. List specific activities on the hour or 1/2 hour. Post your schedule in a highly visible place or on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
    • Use Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar at www.google.com/calendar to keep track of your activities.
    • Use your smartphone to set up automatic reminders and organize daily activities.
  3. Manage your contacts and activities electronically. Track the time spent on activities and the contacts that you make. Use free websites such as JibberJobber.com to help you manage and organize your contacts and tasks. Keep track of who you met, where, what was discussed, and when you plan to reconnect.

Are you business ready? Have you prepared your job search presence?

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Resume: Begin by making a list of your job experience, job titles, dates of employment and salary history. You won’t use all of this information for your resume but may need it when completing a job application, preparing for an interview or drafting a cover letter.

There are a lot of resources available to help:

  • Resume writing books are available at your library. Also check your local library for job/career resources and support.
  • Free resume coaching is available at the state Department of Labor, Good Will Industries, and many other local organizations and agencies.
  • Online resources such a O*NET Online (www.onetonline.org) provide useful information for job/career exploration and analysis.

Email account: Create an email account to use exclusively for your job search. The user name must be professional. An appropriate user name looks something like john.doe@gmail.com or john doe.us@live.com.

Contact telephone number: You must have a reliable contact telephone number with voice mail. The outgoing message should be professional and straightforward. This means no background noise like music or children/dogs or quotes from spiritual sources. The outgoing message should identify you as the receiver and state that you are unavailable but will get back to the caller as soon as possible.

Professional attire: Have business attire available for networking events, job fairs, interviews, etc. Articles describing appropriate dress can be found by typing “help dressing for work” in your web browser. For example, www.wikihow.com/Dress-for-Work has an article describing appropriate formal and casual business attire for men and women.

Business cards: Create and carry business cards with you at all times because you never know who you will meet or where.

  • Business cards should be simple and inexpensive. Take a look at the offerings at Staples, vistaprint.com, and avery.com.
  • Do not buy too many at first because you are likely to make changes during the job search process.

Networking speech: Prepare a short “elevator speech.” This is a 30 second to one minute statement describing your skills and qualifications, the position you want, and the people you want to meet. An example of a networking speech follows. However, you must craft a statement that fits your unique experience and skills.

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I am a ____ professional with experience in ____ and ____. Most recently, I worked at ____. My unique strengths/abilities are in the areas of ____ and ____. I am looking to talk with people that work for companies such as (list 3 to 7 target companies). Are you available to meet with me over coffee to all about ____?

Enroll in job placement websites like www.Indeed.com and www.LindedIn.com.

Register with your target companies to received job postings. Follow your target companies on LinkedIn and Twitter/Instagram.

Follow websites like dailyworth.com, IvyExec.com, and theladders.com to keep current with job search trends and available resources.

Now, get to it . . .

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.