3 Tools for Executing & Managing Your Job Search

There are several Web-based tools to help you prepare for your job search and manage the various activities associated with your career transition. The goal of these applications is to organize all of your job search activities into one centralized location. Some provide you with excellent resources and tools. Each site offers either a complimentary tour or trial period. Some of the tools these sites offer include:

Career Planning

  • Career assessments, career profiles and occupational research

Research

  • Industry research (industry overview, trends & forecasts, business challenges)
  • Company/Organization research (revenues, financial information, size, number of employees, locations)
  • Contact research including executives and employees in targeted companies (employee names, titles, contact information, etc.)
  • Researched articles written by executives and employees of target companies
  • Website and media links (corporate press releases, etc.)

Tools and Resources

  • Job board postings and feeds (customizable selection)
  • Contact management (new entries and imports)
  • Embedded links (LinkedIn, Indeed)
  • Resume and cover letter advice
  • Libraries and resources
  • Journals
  • Account Sharing with your Career Coach (optional)

3 Top Career Management Tools

1) Career Beam – www.careerbeam.com

According to Colleen Sabatino, President of Career Beam, “98% of companies are private companies, and 97% of these aren’t using job postings services to source their best talent.” She also states that, “posting your resume and responding to online job postings will get you access to roughly 20% of available positions in the market and only about 4% of positions are actually filled in this manner.”

Colleen further states that “you need a process for navigating your career in a market that almost exclusively operates outside of traditional job posting sites.” “The other 80% of opportunities can be identified and captured, but only by those individuals who know what they want, are able to communicate it effectively, and know how to implement a strategic search process.”

Highlights of CareerBeam’s Unique Features:

Organization database includes U.S.- and Canadian-based companies. The search categories include: company selection, location selection, industry & size selection, contact selection, recruiter selection. Information is sourced through Hoovers and other subscription sites.

International database includes any company with a foreign presence. This includes US-owned companies with a foreign presence as well as foreign-owned companies.

Contact Research – LinkedIn is embedded in the system so you can log in and do research without leaving CareerBeam.

Job Search – ZoomInfo is embedded in the system. You can pull up company information including summary, revenues, employee size, key people, description, products and services, competitors, news information, and job postings listed on ZoomInfo.

Job Postings – Search for job postings using CareerBeam’s search tool. The General Postings pull from CareerBuilder and the Company Postings pull from Indeed.

Target companies – Search for target companies by location or SIC / NAICS codes.

Functionality – Offers ability to research and track company, schedule activities, insert follow up reminders, and add notes.

Research On Demand – “research on demand” allows you to request research on companies not currently in the database.

Industry Overview – Provides comprehensive industry information including: Competitive landscape, Products, Operations & Technology, Recent Developments, Business Challenges / Critical Issues, Business Trends & Industry Opportunities, Executive Insight (Challenges & Issues by function (CEO, CFO, HR, Sales), Financial Information, Industry Forecast, Website and Media Links, Glossary of Acronyms

Company / Industry Research Preparation – Includes call preparation questions and conversation starters such as: How cyclical is the firm’s business? How does the firm ensure regulatory compliance? How much of an overseas’ presence does the firm have?
Account Management – When Logging out, you have the ability to send your coach a note on activities completed (Coach-Supported membership only).

Member Support – Quick Start Guide and Videos (online help system), Q&A (for website questions)

2) JibberJobberwww.jibberjobber.com

JibberJobber is a powerful tool that lets you manage your career, from job search to relationship management to target company management (and much more).

Jason Alba designed JibberJobber to be complementary to any career or networking resource you can find, including job boards, recruiters and headhunters, career coaches, networking books, social networks, and more.

Highlights of JibberJobber’s Unique Features:

Manage Prospective Employers: Enter and track prospective employer information and log communications and activities (including which resume and cover letter you sent foe each opportunity.)

Manage Recruiter Relationships: Enter and track recruiting company information and log communications and activities.

Manage Job Boards: Enter job board information and log activity.

Manage Your Personal Network: Enter, categorize, assign tags and rank contact information, log activities, and set relationship goals. You can import your Twitter, Gmail, and Outlook contacts.

Manage Action Items: Create action items on multiple job postings, companies, recruiters, boards, network contacts and receive action items in your email.

Track Jobs That You Apply For: Create “job posting” to track status and events, update status of each posting, and track which resume, cover letter, etc. you sent.

Manage Documents: Store career marketing documents.

Prepare for Interviews: Enter 30-second elevator pitch, T.O.P.(trends, opportunities, problems) responses, C.A.R. (challenge, action, results) stories, and questions to ask the interviewer.

Track Expenses: Log expenses and mileage.

Job Journal: Enter and track accomplishments for job search and promotions.

Coaching Sessions: Manage coach relationships.

3) CareerShift www.careershift.com

CareerShift’s set of tools and applications provide a complete career management system specifically for job seekers. Owners, Valerie and Mark Matta launched the site in May 2007.

CareerShift lets you tap into the power of the Internet with a set of patent-pending research tools, techniques and online applications. CareerShift uses dynamic linking to “publicly posted” information on the Internet and presents the information in a user-friendly format. CareerShift centralizes your information on the site and enables you to store, organize and manage information relevant to your job search. With dynamic linking, the information the system finds and presents is real time and most likely current.

CareerShift enables you to transition seamlessly between open positions, job opportunities, company information, and networking opportunities at a particular company.

Highlights of CareerShift’s Unique Features:

Job Search – Meta job search engine/aggregator that will bring in job postings from their original destination (newspaper, corporate website, association, job board).

You can then search for employees within the company and CareerShift will provide contact information, articles, press mentions, etc. affiliated with that individual so you can network with an internal employee.

Company Research – Search for companies that do business in a particular field in a specific city or state. Results provide a link to the company’s website where you can find additional open positions, company details, and contacts in the company.

People Search – Search for people in a particular geographic region that hold positions similar to the position being sought. Then cross-reference search by industry, alumni or school attended to find commonality consequently making you feel more comfortable with initial contact.

Mailing Campaigns – Create, print and execute campaigns (email and physical) from saved contacts or newly added contacts. System includes automated, customizable document/list merge system that merges the cover letter and appropriate resume for the mailing.

Calendaring – After completing a campaign, use MY CALENDAR to alert you to follow-up with prospective employers.

Functionality – Upload and store resumes and cover letters or use CareerShift’s wizard to create documents.

Support – Includes Live Help Desk with 800 number or email support and a blog.

Does Your Resume & Cover Letter Speak To Today’s Crisis?

If you’re conducting a job search during this economic downturn, be sure to review your marketing materials and interview portfolio to ensure that you have included contributions and accomplishments that will be beneficial to companies trying to survive today’s economic crisis.

Highlight accomplishments you’ve had in keeping a company afloat or thriving during a difficult time. While it might not have been a global recession, many industries, markets and companies have undergone their own market downturn, slump, or crisis.

For instance:

  • The accounting scandals that led to a series of spectacular corporate collapses, while others survived unmarked
  • The dot com bust that caused a downturn in all high-tech fields and subsequent two-year recession
  • The printing or publishing industry continually threatened with technology that empowers amateur end users
  • The airline industry’s ongoing peaks and valleys
  • Or the many industries threatened by foreign imports

As senior executives, how do you keep threatened companies afloat? How do you position them as industry leaders despite economic crisis?

Looking back at each of the companies you have worked for, consider the most difficult times the company experienced and identify your contributions to the company’s survival.

Weave these contributions and accomplishments into your resume and cover letter. If you have many examples, create an addendum and title it something like, “Critical Leadership Initiatives During Recessionary Times” or “Recession-Proof Leadership Initiatives” or “Leading Companies Through Recessions.”

You’ll be more apt to win the hearts and minds of boards and senior-level executives when you can demonstrate that despite very difficult times you have been able to deliver results.

10 Tips For Writing Your Online Profile

With online social networking playing such an important part in job search, it is crucial to create a professional profile or bio on a few of the social networking sites that recruiters are using to find candidates. There are several different types of sites offering networking opportunities. The primary social networking sites appropriate for senior executives include LinkedIn.com, eCademy.com and Xing.com. There are also membership sites such as ExecuNet.com, RiteSite.com, TheLadders.com, ExecutiveRegistery.com, Netshare.com, CareerJournal.com, and others that also allow you to post a profile for networking purposes. Then there are the more casual, conversational sites such as Facebook.com, Twitter.com, Flickr.com, MySpace.com, Orkut.com and approximately 300 others.

Before creating and posting your profile, review each site to reveal the culture and tone of the site and determine the appropriate approach and amount of information you will want to share. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are much more conversational than the others and you’ll want to adjust your writing style. Some sites have fill-in-the-box screens and they step you through the process. Others offer recommendations for categories you can include, and others are completely free form.

Whichever sites you choose, follow these tips for greatest effectiveness.

Be consistent with your name: To eliminate any confusion to recruiters or potential employers, be consistent with the name you use online, particularly for job search purposes. Your online name should match your name on your resume.

Write in first party: When writing in first party, be careful not to start every sentence with “I” and “my.” Write your profile as if you were writing a cover letter … slightly more conversational than your resume … but with limited use of personal pronouns.

Reverse chronological order: Begin your profile with your most recent experience. Often times traditional bios begin with where you were born or graduated and progress to current day, however, your online profile should only cover your recent background. Going back more than ten years is not advised, unless you need to include earlier experience to support a position you’re currently pursuing.

Write professionally: This may be your “first impression” with a recruiter or potential employer. If the option is available, create a powerful headline or tag line that captures the reader’s attention and compels the reader to want to know more about you. Your profile summary should be an “executive snapshot” with basic information regarding type of experience, industry focus, types of companies, global cultural familiarity, languages, and other areas of expertise.

Value proposition: Demonstrate your experience in solving specific problems. Include three to five examples of how you deliver value to the employers’ bottom line.

Your expertise: Be specific about your expertise. You do not want to look like a generalist; most companies are looking for executives with deeply niched expertise. They are looking for the “perfect fit.”

Your executive brand: Include your innate qualities that differentiate you from others. Mention what you are renowned for, or what you are a stand for, or are an evangelist for. Your brand must project a clear and marketable value proposition, an authentic and unique promise of value.

Jargon: Using common industry jargon is fine, but be careful about using company-specific jargon that no one else will understand. It’s a turnoff and some people may feel intimidated.

Check your spelling: Most online networking sites do not have spell checkers. As an executive, it is imperative to have an error-free profile.

Double check your spelling: Recruiters search for candidates by keywords. If you have misspelled the word they are searching on, your profile will not come up in their results.

Complete your profile: Many sites have some type of gauge that displays the percentage of the completeness of your profile based on the number of categories you complete. According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to find opportunities through their site.

Targeted Job Search & Lateral Moves

In today’s tumultuous economy, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll find your next position on a job board or through a recruiter mailing campaign. As you can imagine with 760,000 jobs lost so far in 2008, there are thousands of applicants for every single senior-level position.

Your best strategy today is to use the targeted approach. This involves:

  • Choosing a specific company that you would like to work for,
  • Pinpointing a problem that you can solve for that company,
  • Identifying and connecting with executives in the company,
  • And then either asking one of your new contacts to hand deliver your resume to the decision maker…or…calling the executive to schedule a time to network with him/her.

Just this week a client told me that this is how she landed her last two positions. The specificity and extra work pays off handsomely. And actually, it’s not that much more work … it’s simply a more focused process.

With the collapse of the mortgage industry and severe downturn in several others, I’ve been repeatedly asked, “What are some lateral industries that I could switch to so I don’t have to start all over again?” and “How do I find a company that can utilize my expertise”? This is a tough question because often times your innate talents and interests are what drive you into a particular industry. While your talents and interests cross over into other industries, you may have no interest in the other industry. However, here’s one method that can help you with your decision.

Step 1 – Industry Code

Start with your current industry’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. If you don’t know the code for your industry, you can find it at either of the two websites listed below.

NAICS Association (http://www.naics.com/search.htm)
Under the NAICS Drill-Down Menu, look through the list until you find your industry. Click on the two-digit “Code” and you will see a list of related fields which the site calls, “Titles.” By clicking on the Title’s six-digit code, you will be taken to a screen with an explanation of the industry and cross references to other industries. Make a list of the industries that sound interesting.

U.S. Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/naics/2007/NAICOD07.HTM)
You will see a list of the NAICS Codes and all of the nested sub-level codes. By clicking on any one of the codes, you will see an explanation of the industry and cross references. Drilling down on the cross references, you can find lateral industries.

For instance the Finance and Insurance NAICS code is “52.” It includes 121 industry sub-sets that could provide you with some ideas for a lateral move. Read through the list and determine what industry sub-set you might like to explore.

Step 2 – Publications

Using some of the publications listed below (Fortune, Inc., Forbes), conduct further research into specific companies in those industries.

Fortune (money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/)
Using Fortune’s “Industries” list, find the industry you’ve selected as a possible lateral move and click on that industry. The site will display a list of the companies in that particular industry. If you click on the company name, the site will display a profile of the company.

Fortune also provides lists of Top Companies, Top Industries, CEOs, and companies listed by geographic location at money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2008/. You can select a state and view an interactive map of Fortune 1000 companies in your state. You can then click on the company and get a corporate snapshot, including the name of the CEO.

Fortune also publishes a list of the fastest growing industries as well as many other lists including:

  • High revenue growth
  • High EPS (earnings per share) growth
  • High profit growth
  • High return to investors
  • Big / Small Employer
  • Top 5 in its industry
  • Best company to work for
  • Top 500 Headquarters

Inc. Magazine (http://www.inc.com/inc5000/index.html)

Inc. publishes many lists including:

  • Inc. 5000 fastest growing private companies in America http://www.inc.com/inc5000/
  • Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies By Gross Dollars of Growth
  • Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies By Revenue
  • Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies By Metro Region
  • Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies By Industry

Inc.’s website features interactive maps highlighting the density of:

  • Top 100 Companies by Revenue (with icons showing location on US map)
  • Top 100 Companies by Growth

You can search the Inc. 5000 and Inc. 500 lists by state to find the companies in your geographical preference and browse the 2008 Inc. 5000 by Industry and get a list of companies and locations. You can click on the company name to view a company profile (year founded, growth, revenue, number of employees, rankings, and a link to the company website).

In September 2008, Inc. published this list of Top 10 Industries by Median Growth Rate:
1. Energy 298%
2. Government Services 220%
3. Security 200%
4. IT Services 187%
5. Software 187%
6. Consulting 182%
7. Telecommunications 171%
8. Advertising & Marketing 167%
9. Real Estate 167%
10. Financial Services 165%

Forbes Magazine (www.Forbes.com)

Forbes publishes many lists including:

  • Fastest Growing Industries
  • America’s Largest Private Companies (sortable by industry) — Includes interactive map by state, a list of Newcombers, and list of Private Tech Companies
  • Asia’s Fab 50 Companies
  • Global High Performers
  • Forbes 2000
  • Next Step – LinkedIn

Step 3 – LinkedIn

Now that you’ve gathered a list of target companies, go to LinkedIn.com (http://www.linkedin.com/) and do an advanced search on the company names to find a list of people that work in those companies so you can establish a connection and dialogue.

You can read more about using LinkedIn in your job search in my January 2008 newsletter. If you’re a new subscriber, send an email to beverly@harveycareers with “January 2008 CNT” in the subject line and I’ll send you a copy.