This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii.
Foreword Introduction The Job Search Cycle Your 30-Second Introduction Hit-list of Employers Turning Job Leads into Opportunities Finding Employers on LinkedIn
viii. Connecting With Employers Online ix. x. xi. xii. Closing Summary Frequently Asked Questions Testimonials Biography
Foreword Inspiration can come upon you at any time, any day, any place, and in a multitude of forms. Chance meetings can turn into casual friendships or working relationships. Sometimes those relationships can even grow in mutual respect and trust, and result in years of friendship and mutual admiration. So it is with Carlos Gil and me. Carlos and I met on LinkedIn through a topic he posted about needing speakers for the Northeast Florida Fall Career Expo. He said he was looking to add depth and learning to the otherwise sterile environments usually present at job fairs. Carlos had an idea that if he provided great speakers and uplifting topics, job seekers would leave the event with something of value, even if it wasn’t in the form of a new job. I responded to the post, which lead to a dinner meeting with Carlos, which lead to him handing me a microphone and giving me an hour at the NFFCE to speak to almost a hundred job seekers. Our working relationship was forged on that day, but that was only the beginning. Over the past 2 ½ years, we have challenged each other to grow and to do more. We have applauded one another at our successes. We have consoled each other during the less than positive days. Through it all, I have had a ring-side seat to watch Carlos grow as a professional and company executive, as a father and husband, as a giving friend and compadre, and most of all as a brother in Christ. Our journeys have been eerily similar even though he is in his twenties (I literally have T-shirts older than him!) and I just recently clicked over the half-century mark. Carlos has an old soul in that young body of his and he constantly astounds me with his ability to think big picture about everything he does – not just bigger, better, faster, but from the perspective of making a real difference in the lives of everyone he comes into contact with. He wants to be a force for global good and change and it inspires me sit and listen to the amazing ideas flowing out of his head. This book is part catharsis, part cautionary tale, and part reflection on his part. I can tell you this much – if it’s ever made into a movie, I will definitely go see it! Carlos is a one of a kind thinker with a truly unique view of the world. I know that you will enjoy his story – but not as much as I have, watching it up close for the last few years. Good on ya’ mate – well done! Brad Raney
Anyone who tells you that the economy is the reason why they cannot find a job hasn’t walked a mile in my shoes. I haven’t seen a paycheck in over three years, my wife and I have had two cars repossessed, we’ve lived on food stamps, I’ve had to borrow money from relatives, my home was foreclosed on and I’ve filed for bankruptcy yet as a direct result of my own job loss I’ve been able to help thousands of career professionals find work during one of the worst economic periods of our nations history. In spite of the challenges that I have faced along the way I am much better off today than where I was back in 2008 before the Great Recession ever happened.
There are a lot of how-to find a job books out there so I don’t want to bore you with the same old content that you’ve heard elsewhere. Instead, I want to teach you how-to own your success. I want to challenge you to become a better professional, one who is full of talent and has value. I want to inspire you by sharing with you how I’ve gone from being unemployed, broke, and nearly homeless to becoming a successful CEO with a business model based off of helping people like you find jobs. Most importantly, I want you to feel empowered by knowing that there is someone out there, no different than you, who has faced adversity head on only to become recognized by CNNMoney.com and in 2010 was ranked by Fast Company Magazine amongst the most influential people online today. I’ve learned throughout the most challenging period of my young adult life that how you choose to view the world around you will determine what path you will take long term. As I have told countless individuals over the course of three years now, the economy is a mere state of mind. Every morning when you wake up you have the option of making today your most successful or least productive day yet. You can’t see the economy but you can manifest it to be what you want it to be. The economy doesn’t suck but being unemployed does. It’s not fun, especially when your lifestyle changes and you cannot afford to enjoy the unpaid time away from work. Look at yourself in the mirror but don't blame something that's invisible which you cannot see, touch or feel as the reason why you cannot find a job.
Like most of you reading this book I know what it’s like to lose a job that I once enjoyed. I am no different than you or the average American who has seen the struggles associated with a job loss but the biggest
difference between me and most people I’ve met is that in the world I live in my economy provides me with an opportunity to thrive because failure has never been an option in my book.
In an otherwise down economy during which millions of Americans have found themselves jobless, broke, and homeless I’ve been able to overcome my own struggles and challenges to create a new career path for myself and have thrived every step of the way. In spite of my own job loss I’ve learned the methodology behind social media; how it works and how to apply it effectively when looking for work. I have met with thousands of people like you and have also spoken with hundreds of recruiters as well which has provided me with the opportunity to facilitate numerous workshops to educate individuals like yourself on the hidden secrets to job search success. The subject matter that I write about has helped thousands of career professionals across the United States find employment when all you hear from the media and people’s mouths is that “nobody is hiring”. My job today is to help you get hired and it would not be possible had I never lost my job in the first place.
The point that I’m trying to make is if you think that the economy is bad, than guess what? For you it will be. If you think that nobody is hiring because of the economy than you’re probably right but the key here is recognize that nobody will be hiring one person and that’s you. The reason why our country’s unemployment is as high as it’s reported is not due to an overwhelming lack of jobs like one might think.
The truth is that we’re not in 2008 anymore. The “Great Recession” is over and companies who once made a knee jerk reaction because of the economy are once again looking to hire the brightest and sharpest candidates around who can immediately add value to their organization. That’s a fact. It’s become very much a buyer’s market in today’s competition for jobs along with the fact that many of the baby boomers who lost their jobs in recent years are finding themselves competing with social media savvy Generation-Y professionals such as myself and over 2.5 million college graduates annually who are also entering the workplace for the first time. So again, the challenge is not in finding a job but rather how to get in front of whose hiring and ultimately land the job which you desire.
There are four types of job seekers out there which my good friend Brad Raney refers to in his book “Improve Your Vowels, Improve Your Career!” and those are the following:
• • • •
Unemployed Underemployed Employed but looking for a better job College Graduate
Whichever category you may fall into I would like to applaud you for taking the time, and the first step, to making a positive change in your life. “My Unemployed Life” is a book I’ve written to share my story with you and also to serve as a guide to your next job. Whether it’s my life’s calling or just what I was born to do I want to help you and others out there change their lives for the better.
Losing my job, and at the time in which it happened, has changed my life and was a blessing in disguise. In fact I shouldn’t even be writing a book, I should be like any other person at my age working a full-time job but that’s not the path I was destined to take and at the moment in which it happened. Much of the knowledge I will pass onto you throughout this book is directly linked to how I've been able to rebound from a job loss and numerous challenges which followed while creating a successful career path as an entrepreneur and an effective job hunt strategy which has helped thousands along the way gain employment in tough times.
My unemployed life story dates back to November 5, 2007, my first day of employment with the company which would ultimately terminate me due to the downturn in the economy exactly one year and one day later. I was 24 years old at the time, a period in which most people my age are graduating from college, and had just landed an opportunity to work for what was one of the most prestigious financial services firms in the world. Besides a decent salary I enjoyed the perks that most career professionals can only dream of including a company car, cell phone, overnight business travel, gas card and an expense account.
Needless to say for a young guy like myself who didn’t go to college, and dropped out of high school at age 18, I was on top of the world and actually believed that I was on my way to being America's next top CEO before the age of 30. At the time I was even working on a book project on how I had quickly climbed
the corporate ladder in such a short period of time with minimal formal education to back me up. Then, on November 6, 2008 my world and my own personal economy came crashing down when I found myself suddenly laid-off and out of a job for the first time in my young adult life.
I will never forget the moment that it happened as long I am alive. I was on my way into work when my boss called, there were already rumors swirling of mass layoffs on the horizon, and I almost immediately knew when I saw his name on the caller ID that it couldn't be good news. It was then my boss informed me that he was in town and wanted to meet with me at my office. I arrived shortly thereafter to be informed that as a result of the “downturn in the economy” and the fact that as a company we weren’t lending that my employment had been terminated. Six weeks prior to my layoff I was in New Orleans staying at the Ritz Carlton nearby the French Quarter with my now former co-workers drinking and partying on the company dime like there was no tomorrow yet the same company was laying me off because again that word…the “economy”.
For my misfortune I was granted a minimal severance package through the remainder of the year, eight weeks to be exact. Prior to my layoff I already had a sense that my time at the company was numbered. In addition to not being paid a bonus months earlier because the company had no money in its bonus pool to pay its employees, we weren’t in growth mode as a company as there was absolutely no sense of urgency anymore to put new business on the books. And then there’s the slumping stock price from sank from roughly over $80 a share when I was initially hired to pennies on the dollar a year later.
Honestly, I was relieved that now I wouldn't have to report to work every day wondering if today I would still have a job. I wasn't upset as I had anticipated I would be although it was rather humiliating having to turn in my laptop, company phone and other belongings to my boss in front of others. With no company car to get home it only then crossed my mind, how do I explain to my eight month pregnant wife that I just lost my job and by the way ask her to come pick me up?
Making that phone call to my wife was perhaps that hardest thing I have ever had to do. To this day I still get emotional when I think back to that moment. Although I wasn't as firm of a believer in God as I am today I knew that deep down inside there was a bigger plan for me and only time would determine what
that was. Soon after my wife picked me up I made a phone call to the person whom I've always reached out to in a time of crisis, that being my Mom.
As an only child growing up my Mom and Dad raised me much different than most kids who I grew up with. I was born in a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and raised in a rather affluent community called Weston. My parents always busted their ass so that they could send me to the best schools, put the newest Nike sneakers on my feet, and give me what they never had as kids growing up in Cuba. I don’t recall ever seeing my parents suffer a financial hardship nor did I ever see my Dad not be able to provide for his family. Whether the hardships ever happened or not it was always business as usual in the Gil household. My parents raised me with the fundamentals of working hard for what you have in life. My Dad always instructed me to lead by example and not be a follower. When I made the decision at age 18 to drop out of High School and get a GED they didn’t stop loving me, they stood by me. When at age 19 I decided to get married and leave home, they didn’t stop loving me then either. But one thing I will tell you is this, my Mom and Dad always reminded me that once I was my own it would be up to me to sink or swim. Rather than my Mom feel sorry for me and put an emotional band aid on my feelings during our phone call she instead told me about a website called LinkedIn.com and encouraged me to get on it right away to perhaps find recruiting professionals who might be able to help me in finding a new job.
Initially I was confused, my parents are real estate brokers and use this so-called professional networking website for their business so what possibly would I have to gain from it I had thought. That was the extent of my introduction to LinkedIn until I came home and within two hours of losing my job I was signed up and registered but not before my emotions got the best of me. Reality quickly sank in, no job and soon no money.
The question repeated through my head over and over again, “what do I do now?” I didn't know whether to be angry or sad. I would turn on MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, etc. and all I would hear about were bailouts, bank failures, layoffs and nothing but doom and gloom. The company which had just laid me off was making headlines on the media wire and notably how their executives were given "golden parachutes" or massive layoff bonus on their way out the door meanwhile I didn't know where my next
paycheck would come from beyond December. I immediately went online and started emailing various news outlets in New York that I was an angry recently laid off worker who wanted to vent.
Within an hour a producer from “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” show on CNBC called me and offered me a spot as a call in guest for an upcoming show. Ironically, it was always a dream of mine to be on Donny's show as an inventor, author, speaker or someone of substance and not just some unemployed guy. Instead I had my 15-seconds of fame as an irate worker who'd just been laid off. The clip is still on YouTube if you search for ‘Carlos Gil on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch’.
After the dust settled and reality kicked me in the ass I immediately made the decision to not let my job loss ruin everything that I had worked so hard for over the last five or six years of my career. With a young family depending on me I didn’t have the option of blaming the economy nor was I going to allow for some journalist who gets paid to report the news influence my mindset or future.
Instead, I made a conscious decision to move on and look ahead which was the only option besides complete failure. I spent my first weekend unemployed on LinkedIn. Initially I saw LinkedIn for what it was then and what it still is today, a social networking website no different than MySpace or Facebook but with a professional tone and a platform that facilitates interaction between career professionals who are looking to build their network of contacts. I often refer to LinkedIn as a virtual rolodex, in reality it’s become the Holy Grail for people such as me who are looking to get a competitive edge in the workplace. I spent the next several days building my LinkedIn profile and a strategy for landing my next job almost like a short term business plan. I knew that realistically I would not land a new job within the banking industry in the foreseeable future. Along with the fact that hiring traditionally slows down around the end of the year. I was laid off during a month in which 500,000 other Americans had also lost their jobs. Initially, I saw myself becoming a consultant of some sort.
While I had no other option but to succeed my focus and determination was set on not becoming just another victim of the economy. Today if you jump right into any of the LinkedIn groups it’s easy to spot job opportunities being posted by Recruiters and other staffing professionals however upon my discovery of
LinkedIn it was the complete opposite. All I found at the time were people like me who had just lost their jobs too trying to stand out in an overcrowded virtual forum.
Rather than becoming frustrated, and immediately give up like others would, it was through LinkedIn where I became inspired to help those around me in their quest for employment. I figured that I may not go back to work tomorrow but I sure as hell won’t let the economy keep me down if I can help it. May it be through the grace of God, or that inner voice within all of us, my calling was crystal clear.
I share my story with you because I am no different than you. I know what it's like to lose a job that I truly loved and enjoyed. I know what it's like to go home and worry where and when your next paycheck will come from. I also know firsthand what it’s like to dust myself off and move on which is something that so many people just cannot do.
I am not a casualty of the economy or of the financial crisis of 2008. I am a career professional with value and so are you. The economy did not break me; instead it's made me a stronger person. I've kicked the economy in the ass and not the other way around. Yes I’ve been knocked down but each time I’ve gotten back up it’s been mightier and with a greater will to succeed than before.
Throughout this book I am going to break down the job search process in an easy to follow step-by-step guide, one which I’ve developed as a fool proof strategy for success. Each step is vital and equally important. In addition to addressing many of the reasons why so many educated professionals fail each day in their job search I will help you identify who are the employers that are hiring in your area right now and how you can make direct contact with key decision makers at these companies. I will also teach you how to spend less time actually looking for work while investing your time wisely in getting in front of who is hiring. I may not be able to sit with you in the “hot seat” across the desk from a Recruiter or a Human Resource Manager but I can walk you through each step along the way beforehand. Before we get started keep the following in mind:
The recession is over and we are on the road to recovery
It’s no longer 2008 and 2009 when all you would hear about on the news is layoffs. Companies are hiring again, in fact many companies that I’ve worked with over the last few years can’t hire quickly enough. You need to have a clear mindset and keep realistic expectations open. While you may not necessarily score the same job which you had before or at the same pay rate you should be able to find work within your industry or one that matches your skill set.
Finding a job is a job
You must be dedicated and committed throughout this process. Going online, searching for the latest jobs on Monster.com and applying for any random job and then waiting for the phone to ring is not going to get you hired. In fact, it’s only going to frustrate you and ultimately prolong the process. Your challenge is not limited to finding a job; really its how do you stand out amongst thousands in your industry who are competing for the same job opportunities as you. As I said before, it’s clearly a buyer’s market for talent and companies are now taking longer than ever before when it comes to making hiring decisions. What this means to you is that your objective is not only to outbid or outcompete the next person in line for the job you desire but also to be able to make such an impact on the hiring manager, or recruiter, that he or she will be competing for your services.
Getting hired should not be a slow moving process
There are millions of job openings in the United States right now however not all jobs are advertised and it’s all about who you know or who knows you. Fortunately for you there are more than plenty of resources at your fingertips to help place you in front of key decision makers. However, if you sit behind a computer all day long as I stated before and expect a different result you will fail and if you don’t fail you will struggle every step of the way until you succeed.
You must have a 30-second pitch
It’s important that you can clearly identify to a potential employer why you should be hired. Companies don’t want a cookie cutter employee; they are looking for uniqueness and an “it” factor that will compel
them to hire you rather than the next person. What I will cover throughout this book will not only guide you throughout the job search process but hopefully it will also change your outlook as well and inspire you along the way.
Through this book you will learn the following:
How to identify who’s hiring in your area Defining social media in your job search including how to connect with recruiters and key decision makers online
What to say and how to stand out from your competition by creating an effective introduction
To be successful you must pay attention, take plenty of notes, and follow my instructions step-by-step. I cannot guarantee you a job but I will guarantee that if you follow my lead and the instructions that I will cover in this book you will see immediate results. I have personally come across thousands of unemployed professionals since 2008 as well as with human resource professionals which today are my clients and pay me to find them candidates.
The company which I founded due to my job loss has hosted several job fairs and hiring events throughout the country during which I’ve spoken many times at these events about the content written in this book. You can the testimonials at the end of this book as living proof. It’s through my experiences alone that I’ve been able to acquire and develop the knowledge which I pass along to you. You’ve heard of the good old cliché “knowledge is power” right? What I am going to provide you with is powerful knowledge; however, it’s solely up to you to apply this new found knowledge in your daily routine in order to lead you to success – which is a new job. The average person in America is unemployed between 28 and 32 weeks. That’s over half a year of being jobless and only the average.
There’s a lot of self proclaimed “experts” out there – I’ll let them be the experts. I just want to help get America back to work one job at a time and hope that my passion for making a positive difference leads you to your next job and gets you hired. Looking for a job is not hard; in fact it’s pretty easy once you fully
understand how to look for work. I repeat if you expect to see immediate results and be successful you must follow my instructions. Trust me, it works. Now let’s get started shall we?
The Job Search Cycle
Throughout my introduction I shared with you my own job loss story. First, in late 2008 I lost my job in the banking industry due to the economic downfall and today I’m writing a book based on the strategy which I’ve developed to help candidates like you find work. I only wish the story was that easy to tell. Without failure you cannot reach success.
There’s also the story of my wife who is also a banker and was also let go from her job just a few months after I lost mine and shortly after returning to work from maternity leave. My wife’s job loss was probably a harder pill for me to swallow than my own to be quite honest. At the time I was trying to build my company on a limited budget and as grassroots as possible by hosting job networking events called “Pink Slip Parties”.
I was making no money from my efforts and needless to say my wife’s job was keeping us financially afloat in the honest hope that all of my activity would either produce another job opportunity or my business would somehow takeoff. Moments after my wife called to inform me that she had just been let go from her job I immediately took to Facebook and posted on my wall that “if my business didn’t take off we’d soon be broke and homeless.” I wasn’t kidding; soon thereafter we found ourselves living on food stamps and receiving Medicaid.
It was around May of 2009; with very little money left to our names I sold the remaining stocks I had in my investment account for any cash I could get back. It hit me that we were in trouble when I had to sell stocks just to fund my travel expenses for a trip to Orlando just to host a Pink Slip Party, a job search networking mixer for unemployed people like me. Without a doubt this was one of the worst moments of my life. Not only were times rough but it was painful emotionally and spiritually. My marriage was falling apart at a rapid pace.
There’s a lot of truth to be told when people say that money is one of the leading causes of divorce in America. In less than a year we’d gone from being a six-figure earning family to having nothing to our
names. Then on one summer day our lights were scheduled to be cut off, I begged and pleaded with the utility company to grant us an extension on the premise that we had a newborn child living under our roof and it was literally nearly one hundred degrees outside. Soon thereafter my wife and I found ourselves driving to the welfare office begging for a hand out.
It was ironic that now I was a slave to society when before I was a slave to corporate America. Welfare denied to help us because of our previous year’s earnings reported on our tax returns. From there we went to Catholic Charities who also denied helping us, we were out of hope. Here I was at the peak of my life, 26 years old, with my wife and new born baby driving around town frantic and desperate.
Already in debt and maxed out on every credit card to our names my wife had to ask her 19-year old sister to lend us money from her college savings account to help pay for our utility bill. Shortly thereafter, the final straw came when one of my creditors put a garnishment on our bank account effectively freezing any and all cash assets. I didn’t know how much further we could possibly handle. Many nights I would sit up in my son’s room, and on the computer, trying to learn social media at such a rapid pace in hopes of growing my business and being able to fulfill my calling to help others meanwhile surfing for job opportunities for both my wife and I.
On one hand I was trying to help get America back to work like some sort of philanthropic superhero while ultimately working for free on no sleep and expecting nothing in return yet I was probably worse off than the people who I was trying to help. I wanted to give up; I wanted to give up bad. So many times I would ask why me? I would sit in front of my computer and in horror read about stories of people who had lost it all and even their lives due to the economy. At this point I was beyond scared, I was terrified.
I remember a good friend of mine telling me that I was in a worse economic situation than most people who I was trying to help and although I would become irate at his statement he was damn right. On one of the many late nights while surfing the internet I learned about the story of Paul Nawrocki, a former executive who would travel each day from his home to the heart of New York City wearing a sandwich board in hopes that someone would hire him so he could support his wife who was ill. Not only did Paul’s story humble me beyond belief but it also opened up my eyes. I did more research and saw news clips
from various media outlets which had covered Paul’s story, I cried like a baby each time realizing that this could be me. It was then that I knew I couldn’t give up and wouldn’t give up no matter what.
I literally stared at my fate which was right around the corner waiting for me and my family. Have you ever done something in your life where you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not seeing results? That was how I felt. Up until this point I didn’t see a dime nor did I ask for one because quite frankly I didn’t have anything to sell or offer. I had hosted several job networking events, probably close to a dozen or so, and while the charity work was without a doubt for a good cause I honestly didn’t feel that I was making a big enough impact.
While traveling on my own dime from city to city I came across hundreds of highly educated and qualified career professionals. It amazed me at how many individuals could be my boss but are out on the streets like Paul begging for work. I lost count of how many times I would drive away from a city after hosting a “Pink Slip Party” and become even more depressed than I already was. But failure was not an option.
I quickly realized that while hosting networking mixers to bring together who’s hiring with who’s looking for work it just wasn’t going to cut it unless I could in fact teach others how to find work. There is where the inspiration to write a playbook for job seekers began and it’s also how I developed what I now call the “job search cycle”.
The job search cycle is the duration in which someone goes from looking for work to ultimately being hired. Think of the job search cycle as a mathematical formula:
You + Jobs + Social media + Networking = You’re Hired The average person in America spends between 28 to 33 weeks unemployed which is roughly six to nine months being without a job or income. If you happen to be laid-off from your job like I was, immediately one has to ask themselves “do I have enough money in my savings to hold me over that long?” For the average person the quick answer is no.
Realistically there is no reason why you should go no more than 9 to 12 weeks, or less, from the time you begin your job search until you’re hired which brings me to my next point. Originally the title to my book was going to be “How-to find a job in 90 days or less” which has also been the title of several workshops I’ve presented to thousands of job seekers. Through the evolution of social media in recent times however, and the fact that the majority of today’s human resource departments are adopting some form of social recruiting into their hiring strategies, I honestly feel that 90 days has even become way too long to be unemployed.
You are who controls how long you’re going to be unemployed. As I’ve stated, looking for a job is a job. He or she who is the most persistent and dedicated to finding a source of employment will succeed. He or she who sits idle and waits for the job to come to them will not. Here’s how the formula for the job search cycle works.
You control this process and at what speed you will work to find your next job. You control your
daily habits and ultimately it’s up to you and only you to ensure your success. There are a lot of time wasters to keep your mind away from a dedicated job search routine, don’t fall into the same trap that most candidates fall into which is a comfort zone. You are not getting paid to be unemployed.
Jobs are plenty. Yes, companies are hiring every day in America. I challenge you right now to visit
any job search website and run a quick search for jobs in your area. What you will immediately find is one of two things. The first is that you will see that companies are in fact hiring in your geographic area the second is you will see jobs. Now, I don’t like referring to them as “job openings” whereas I do prefer to call them “job leads”. If you’ve ever been in sales before, like I have, you know firsthand that a lead is what gets you in the door and then it is up to you to close the deal. From here on out, as you move ahead, think of every potential job opportunity out there as a job lead. And the reason why I don’t like the term “job opening” is because in reality you don’t know when surfing the job board or company website if that job is in fact even available. One thing you do know however is that the company itself is hiring and looking for quality talent such as yourself. So, when you start viewing what’s out there as a potential job lead your next challenge becomes how to get in front of the decision maker at the company for which you want to work for.
Social media is the driving force behind today’s generation of web savvy job professionals in
America and worldwide. You will hear me mention a lot of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter throughout this book however it’s not a new strategy. In fact, online networking has been around since the 1990’s. Only now Recruiters are relying less on traditional hiring methods and relying more on social media as a tool to help them weed out the good candidates from the bad. This is why it’s more important than ever that you put yourself in the same space as those who hold the keys to your next job. I say go further than just the “Big 3” and combine traditional networking opportunities with social media engagement. As a candidate you must always leverage the resources that are out there to position you in the best light and ultimately to get in front of the decision maker or hiring manager, social media is simply a bridge to get you from A to B. If you haven’t already figured it out, jobs today are not being found exclusively through online job boards or job fairs.
Networking along with “who you know” will determine at what pace you will operate and see
immediate results however the keyword in networking is work! It’s not rocket science but there is a methodology to social networking. I’ve lived and breathed by LinkedIn over the last three years and if it wasn’t for the network of thousands of connections developed through LinkedIn I probably wouldn’t have written this book or be where I am today. How’s that for a testimonial and reassurance that it works. There are plenty of resources out there to connect you with job leads, everything from online job boards to Twitter, Facebook and even your local business journal but once you’ve identified who is hiring you will need to make direct contact with the source itself. This is where LinkedIn is vital to your success. LinkedIn is so much more than any other cookie-cutter social networking website. LinkedIn is what I refer to as the “virtual rolodex” it’s a professional social network with over 40 million users alone in the United States. If you are a candidate who’s looking to make contact with a Recruiter or a staffing professional at a prospective employer then you need to be using LinkedIn on a daily basis to make contact with these folks. Using the theory of the job search cycle, LinkedIn provides you with a platform to make contact directly with Recruiters in reference to the job leads which you may find. It’s also a unique platform to build professional relationships beyond the initial introduction. Initially, don’t worry so much about applying for every job opening you see but do make it your #1 priority to go straight to source before applying. Repeat this process on a daily basis you will be on your way to being hired quickly, it’s really that simple!
If you shift your outlook and view the job search process as a 4-step approach with a defined outline I guarantee that you’ll ten times ahead of most candidates. Going back to my wife, she finally landed a new job after 34 weeks of being unemployed. She did not use any social media which I blame her on being stubborn for however she did take my lead on creating a hit-list of employers which ultimately provided her with a clear cut strategy on what companies specifically she would be making direct contact with. While she was fortunate to return back to work quicker than most candidates who only rely on traditional methods it did not come without adversity as she was turned down multiple times by the same employer which would eventually hire her. One of the driving forces behind my success throughout my career has been persistence; believe me when I say it does pay off.
Your 30-Second Introduction
I’ve told you a lot about me already so now let’s focus on you by clearly identifying who you are and what you bring to a potential employer. I often tell job seekers that within 30 seconds, or less, of meeting an employer you should be able to communicate the skill set which you offer and why you are the right person for the job.
Whether it’s by phone during an initial screening, or during a face to face interview, if you are unable to convince the employer within your first few words as to why they should hire you then you’ve already lost the battle. Keep in mind that you only have one chance to make a winning first impression.
Everyone has a pitch which defines who they are and when you’re job hunting it should not be “Hello, my name is unemployed”. Way too often I meet people at a job fair or at a seminar whose resume credentials alone could kick my ass yet these folks fail miserably in their job search and in the process disregard the years of dedication devoted to their careers by stating the obvious.
If I meet you and ask you “tell about me about yourself?” the first words coming out of your mouth should not be “well, I’m a job seeker”. A prime example of this is those individuals who display keywords such as: “unemployed”, “job seeker” or “in transition” as their job title(s) on their LinkedIn profile or even on Facebook. The worst is when I run into a suited professional with grey hair at a networking event and underneath their name on their nametag it says “unemployed”. The last time I checked these are not job titles.
Regardless of where you are in your career path right now you are not any of the above and you are definitely not unemployed because looking for a job is a full-time job itself with the exception being that you don’t get paid to look for work. Keep this in mind; potential employers want to know who you are and not what you are. Unemployment by definition is an economic status but it is not a job title or a profession which should define you. Think about it for a moment, most likely you’ve worked for a certain number of years in a
profession during which time you’ve accomplished something of merit which today you proudly display on your resume or on your cover letter.
Even if you’re just coming out of college and have no technical experience or on the job training you’ve just gone through several years of studying and schooling directly related to your career path. If you one of the many who in spite of the economy are transitioning from one industry to another then when you focus on your transferable skills you are most likely able to connect the experience which you acquired in your previous job to the next. And regardless of where you stand you are a professional with value who brings a specific skill set and qualifications to an employer or organization who is ready, willing and able to hire you. Why? Because at the end of the day you are unique and there’s only one you.
Let’s focus on applying this mind set going forward. I want you to repeat the following out loud:
• • • •
I am not unemployed I am not desperate I am a career professional and I am valuable I am ready and willing to make a difference with a company which values what I am worth
Ok, that’s better. I struggle with getting through to today’s candidates the mind set of valuing their own self worth. If you don’t view yourself as being worthy of consideration for a job then neither will an employer and why should they? We all have a story to sell and the great thing about it is that we’re all unique in our own way. There is no one that has the same skill level as you do nor is there another person out there which has the same story to tell as you.
Whether you’re reaching out to a potential employer online or in person it’s essential to have a rehearsed 30-second elevator pitch to compliment your resume. Think about it in this light, a resume is only a piece of paper which documents a timeline of your career. I don’t know about you but my career path and accomplishments along the way mean much more than just a name on a sheet of paper. Taking into account that you only have one chance to make a winning first impression and in today’s digital age in
which there are millions of candidates competing for a limited number of jobs it’s as important as ever that you have the “it” factor that company’s pay top dollar to find.
As I noted before, if I were to meet you in person and we’ve never met you before I won’t know that you are jobless unless you come out and tell me. The first question I am likely to ask you is “what do you do?” Most candidates would say something to the extent of “well, I’m currently looking for a job” or “I’m unemployed at the moment, do you know of anyone hiring?” Again, this puts you in the same category as every other unemployed person in America. Don’t let this be you.
Much of the challenge which you face as a job seeker is competing in a crowded workplace no pun intended. Now, if I’m a recruiter or a potential hiring manager and meet you at a job fair I want to know what makes you different from the one thousand, or more, other candidates at the same event? I want you to impress me otherwise don’t waste my time. If you’ve been to a job fair before you might often hear participating company representatives tell candidates to go directly to their company website and apply there. I’ve literally seen hundreds of candidates by now go into a job fair, walk around to each employer booth and leave without ever speaking to a single person there. It’s these same candidates upon exiting the event rip up their resume into several tiny little pieces which are then left behind in the parking and then go onto the messages boards to complain about nobody hiring.
The reason why you might be told by a company representative at the job fair to visit their website is because you didn’t engage with the recruiter or compel them enough to consider you for employment. On the flip side I’ve also seen a number of candidates know how to work a crowd at a job fair and these are the folks who not only make it their priority to speak to each and every company representative on site but also follow-up afterward. These folks are the small percentile hired within days of attending.
In my experience I’ve spoken with dozens of recruiters about their success rate in new hires generated through job fairs and most often times they express how disappointed they are at the number of candidates who attend and expect to be hired on the spot without ever even speaking to them or followup.
If I am a recruiter and meet you at a job fair or if I call you for a phone interview I am going to begin by asking you “tell me about yourself?” A good recruiter does not rely on a resume to get to know you but rather they will inquire and ask questions. This is why you need to practice and rehearse a scripted pitch which defines you before you get started with social media and much less before you step foot in front of a hiring managers desk.
Now, there are a few elements to keep in mind when putting together your 30 second pitch or “30 second commercial” as I like to call it.
• • • •
Limit to 30 seconds or less Leave out the word “unemployment” Focus on previous success and specific skill set Welcome new challenge and opportunity
You need to keep short and concise. Initially you want to engage a recruiter to learn more about you and what you’ve done in your career up to this point. You want the recruiter to ask you what you are currently doing and don’t be afraid to speak on where you currently are in your career. Think of unemployment as a bad word. You always want to put the focus on what you bring to the table and how your specific skill set can be an asset for their organization.
Last, companies love a go-getter. They are looking for the candidates who not only posses the “it” factor but also demonstrate a desire to excel through their organization. Let’s face it, it’s a win-win for you and your new employer if you work hard on the job and expect to be rewarded. It’s critical that before you jump right into LinkedIn you follow the steps I am going to cover when perfecting your pitch. Think about it as a Super Bowl commercial showcasing your professional qualifications. You should also identify your profession, how many years you bring to the organization and what your long term career objective is. This is all important because you want the employer to feel that you have the qualities and uniqueness which they cannot find elsewhere.
Ultimately I am going to show you how your pitch will eventually become the ice breaker when approaching recruiters online and how it will help you skip to the front of the job search line too.
Here’s a sample 30-second pitch:
Hi, my name is Carlos Gil. I am a banking and finance professional. I posses a decade worth of experiencing representing Fortune 500 companies in my industry such as: Citigroup, AIG and Regions Financial. I have direct experience in project management, credit underwriting, and managing sales teams. Currently I serve as CEO and Founder of a company that I founded in 2008 which helps career professionals find employment. I am seeking an opportunity to align my career objectives with a company or organization which values my skill set and experience.
Perhaps the closing is broad and doesn’t fully communicate exactly what my objective is other than the fact that I’m looking for an opportunity to apply my years of sales and management experience to practical use. Basically I am looking for a mid-level management position preferably within the banking and finance industry.
Now, let me point out a few details.
I preface my introduction by selling myself as a professional in a particular industry which in this case is banking and finance.
Next, I clearly communicate that I’ve spent almost a decade, or 10 years, in my field representing top corporations and I mention these companies by name. Whether I was the CEO there or a part-time employee it sounds good and adds prestige to recognize well known institutions within my industry as being a part of my career history. Half of your challenge is to know how to interview and speak with confidence like you deserve the job.
In my pitch I also reference multiple skill sets or duties performed. While “credit underwriting” is limited to the world of banking it speaks of my analytical ability which is a quality considered to be strength for
almost any company. In addition “project management” and “management of sales teams” which can easily be applied to most industries today.
Last, I briefly speak on what I’m currently doing without coming out and saying straight forward that I’m unemployed. There’s nothing worse than a recruiter asking you what you are currently doing and your reply is either “nothing” or “I’m looking for a job”.
While I don’t expect for most job seekers to take the path that I did I do encourage you to look into ways that you can be productive during your job search such as volunteering or consulting to fill-in the employment gap on your resume. You don’t want to be viewed as a stagnant individual who’s waiting for the phone to ring.
Below is a sample introduction for you to fill in the blanks and practice:
Hi, my name is _________. I am a ___________ professional with _______ years of experience in my industry. I am seeking a ________ opportunity to represent a career oriented company or organization.
As a reminder, it all begins with a first impression. Once the first impression has been made the clock is now ticking. Your pitch to an employer is the difference between going onto the next step which is a formal interview and being turned down for employment. I will be honest with you; once you’ve been turned down for employment with a company it’s highly unlikely that they will consider you again anytime in the near future.
You don’t want to mess it up either, practice only makes perfect. Once you’ve crafted your pitch then you can move onto Step 2 which is the process of identifying who’s hiring in your city and creating what I call a “hit list” of employers.
Finding Employers on LinkedIn
The next step in the process is to make direct contact with each company you desire to work for. Now that you have created a hit-list with roughly two dozen hiring employers in your area, and you have developed a 30-second elevator pitch which you will use in every introduction you make to a prospective employer, you are ready to make contact through LinkedIn. Remember, by now you should have written down several job opportunities which are of immediate interest to you.
At this point you will need to visit www.linkedin.com. If you are new to LinkedIn or visiting the site for the first time I will break down how-to get started right away in the next section. If you are already registered on LinkedIn and actively using it then you can skip the next few paragraphs.
As a LinkedIn newbie first allow me to say Welcome and Congratulations! You have just tapped into a hidden goldmine, as of this writing LinkedIn has surpassed 150 Million Members worldwide. LinkedIn has changed my life and also my outlook on how I communicate and do business, now it’s time for LinkedIn to change yours.
Before you can get started you must understand that LinkedIn is not Facebook or Twitter. While those resources can be useful in promoting social networking amongst professionals there’s also a lot irrelevant noise which may not be the best avenue for you to engage in right away. I always encourage job seekers to join LinkedIn first and once they fully understand how it works then dive into Twitter or Facebook. In my opinion LinkedIn stands alone in it’s own league of social media resources. Known as a social network for professionals I view LinkedIn as the holy grail of business-to-business communication online. LinkedIn goes beyond social media, it’s connection building and a virtual rolodex. Quite simply, if you want to make direct contact with a representative of a particular company then LinkedIn is the first place you need to go. As a job seeker you want to use LinkedIn as a tool to get you in front of Recruiters at hiring companies, case and point.
The first thing you will want to do before registering is to grab a copy of your most recent and up
to date resume or CV. LinkedIn has a great feature which allows you to import your resume provided that it’s saved as a Microsoft Word, PDF, text, or HTML file.
The registration process at LinkedIn.com is easy and takes less than 2 minutes to complete. You
will want to enter your complete First and Last name along with a professional email address. If you do not already own yourname.com then you should create a gmail.com or yahoo.com with firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Your professional image begins with your email address. Be sure to fill out all applicable fields including location. If you are planning on relocating to a specific area then you may want to list the zip code and city where you are looking at relocating to rather than your current location. Most companies will overlook candidates who are not local. If you are currently unemployed list the last company that you worked for in the required Company tab along with your previous job title. If you are a Student then you would then put the University or College where you are attending and list Student as your job title. You may also list where you currently volunteer as a Company if you are unemployed. Click on Create Profile and move onto the next step.
You may immediately be prompted to connect with others who LinkedIn automatically suggests
you connect with. These may be present or previous coworkers. My suggestion is to begin populating your network by inviting all to connect. This might be a great avenue for you to reconnect with a past coworker who may be able to recommend you for a new opportunity. In Step 4 of 7 of LinkedIn’s registration process you will be prompted to See Who You Already Know on LinkedIn, again this is where you can input your email to see who from your address book is on LinkedIn. It’s a great tool to tap into right away.
You can skip onto the next step where you will see Congratulations! You’ve just created your
professional profile. I recommend that you leave this page open but hold off on promoting to your Facebook or Twitter network until your profile is complete.
Before LinkedIn let’s you play in their sandbox and begin working on your profile you will be
asked to chose between their $24.95 per month Premium account or their free Basic account. I’ve always suggested that job seekers begin with a free account. I currently have over 12,000 first degree
connections and have never paid to use LinkedIn so my recommendation is that you stick to free. Throughout this book will show you tricks and workarounds that will allow you to access some of the key premium features without having to pay with the biggest being how-to send a direct message to someone who you aren’t directly connected to.
By now you will be past the registration process and be asked a series of questions by LinkedIn.
Answer all of them as accurate as possible. This is where you will need to use your resume as a reference guide. LinkedIn allows you to add up to 50 skills so add as many and as close to 50 as possible. Your profile will be searchable based on specific keywords contained such as skills.
Go-to Profile in the top row next to Home and underneath the LinkedIn logo. Select Edit Profile
from the drop down menu.
On the right side of the screen you will see the % of profile completeness. Under that you will see
the Import your resume functionality. Click on the link and upload your resume, remember it has to be in Microsoft Word, PDF, text, or HTML file format.
LinkedIn will automatically import data from your resume into your profile however it’s always a
good idea to go back and double check by clicking on the individuals prompts such as: Add another position, Add your summary, Add your education, Add a picture, etc.
Congratulations, you are now done and have a LinkedIn profile!
My goal over the next couple of paragraphs is to help both new and advanced users of LinkedIn understand what are the key items that can help your profile stand out or just be mixed in with the other 150 million Members. Remember, your online presence as a professional starts here.
Let’s begin with the header section of your profile. This is what every user will immediately see when they run a search and find you in the search results. It’s also what naturally our eyes gravitate to when we pull up someone’s LinkedIn profile for the first time. Under your name you will want to have a catchy and
attention grabbing headline such as “Experienced _______ Professional” or in my case I have my headline set-up as “Entrepreneur, Social Media, and Internet Marketing Consultant”. You are working with limited real estate in terms of characters so the point is to instantly brand yourself in the space that you represent. Do not state that you are unemployed or in transition like so many people make the mistake of doing that will spell the kiss of death instantly. Click Edit next to your name to edit your Professional “Headline”. Also display your name as First and Last. From this section you can also designate your Industry so try to stick as close to the industry which you represent.
The next critical item is your profile picture. Two things that seem to stick out are either a) User doesn’t have a profile picture or b) User has a non-professional looking picture. For beginners if you don’t have a profile picture I will not accept an invitation to connect from you and I will not accept you into any group which I manage. The same applies for most experienced LinkedIn users. Nobody feels safe and secure engaging with someone who is not willing to openly identify themselves. The success of social media is based on one’s ability to engage and interact online yet I still want to know who I am engaging with on the other end, make sense? From an HR or Recruiters point of view it appears that a candidate is hiding something when they fail to provide a self portrait which is an immediate turnoff. I hear from most babyboomers that they don’t want to date themselves and appear to be old so therefore they prefer not to show their age through their profile picture. My answer to that objection is first of all you cannot hide your age when they meet you and just by looking at your work history through your profile or the year which you graduated college tells me a lot about your age so don’t go down this path. Granted that not everyone has access to visit a professional studio to have a headshot taken so my suggestion to many folks out there has been to have someone take a headshot of you dressed in professional attire against a blank backdrop with either a smart phone or digital camera. The bottom line is that you need to have a profile picture no questions asked. Don’t miss out a potential opportunity to connect with a Recruiter because you’re perceived to be hiding your identity.
The next item addresses your Current and Past employment history. Make sure that you list no more than 3 or 4 previous employers on your profile, anything more will look like a tombstone of dates and jobs. The same rules that apply to a traditional resume do apply to LinkedIn as well. If you are in between jobs and currently looking then fill in the blank spaces with volunteerism or community activity. The name of the
game is to be active and not idle. Nobody will be impressed by an unemployed guy who’s just looking for work.
If you have a website, such as a blog or online portfolio, that will go into the Websites section. There’s also the option of adding and linking your Twitter profile which I recommend doing right away. The last item of interest from the header section of your profile is the Edit URL function. LinkedIn allows you to have a custom URL which should be www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. Make sure that you create a custom URL before you begin sharing your profile to contacts. If you have a common name like John Smith you may want to think about making www.linkedin.com/in/johnsmithonline as your custom URL I’ve done with my profile which is www.linkedin.com/in/carlosgilonline.
As an additional piece of advice, make sure that you place your LinkedIn URL on your hardcopy resume as well as on your business cards. I know a lot of professionals that have used their LinkedIn profile as a go-to website and rightfully so they should. Besides your profile containing great information on whom you are Google will add it to their search results provided that you have a custom URL which contains your name. Meaning, if someone were to look you up on Google one of the first links that they see might be your LinkedIn profile.
The Summary section under the header and towards the middle of your profile is where you will want to spend a good amount of time. The summary of your profile is what I compare to as the cover page of your resume. It’s also what HR Managers and Recruiters will read into first before scrolling down to view your employment history. A compelling summary could essentially make a difference in whether or not you get the initial call for an interview so make sure that you are using this to your advantage. Hint, it’s where you display your character without being too over the top.
Below is my Summary on LinkedIn:
My name is Carlos Gil; I am a Technology Professional specializing in Brand Management, Social Media Marketing, and Recruitment.
Throughout my career I’ve represented Fortune 500 companies such as: Citigroup, AIG, and Regions Bank in client management and supervisory roles. I currently serve as Founder of JobsDirectUSA, a national workforce organization which I founded in 2008 as a direct result of the economic downturn and job loss. I’ve previously been featured by CNNMoney.com amongst top tier national media throughout the United States due to the work I’ve performed through JobsDirectUSA. In 2010 I was a Top 50 Finalist (No. 39) in Fast Company Magazine’s “Influence Project” to discover the most influential person online out of over 33,000 entries worldwide. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also on Twitter and Facebook.
Whoever reads my summary might say that I’m really into myself or I’m just really confident but either way it’s my space to say who I am. Keep in mind that you are competing with millions of other candidates just like you who are trying to stand out and gain market share. If people perceive you to have that “It” factor they will come. I can almost assure you that very rarely will anyone scroll beyond your summary so with that said you need to take some time to develop what your pitch is and exactly how do you want to be viewed.
You need to make the decision as to whether or not you will be a passive candidate who sits idle and waits for the phone to ring or the assertive candidate who markets him or herself in the best light. You must own your job search through your persona because as I showed you through mine this is where I am going to set the tone early on. I am able to clearly communicate the following:
• • •
Where I’ve been What I’ve done Where I’m going
Now let’s address how you can take this knowledge and put it to good use combined with your hit-list of employers. From the homepage on LinkedIn you will need to run a people search specifically for Recruiters in your area or city which match the leads that you found.
You will need to complete the following steps:
1) Click on “People” in the drop down box at the top right of the screen
2) Click on “Advanced” next to the search box
3) On the next screen you will type in “Recruiter” in the job title field followed by the name of the company in the company field
4) In both the job title and company fields you will see a drop down box below, make sure that you select “Current” in each field so that your results will only reflect those individuals who currently work at the company you’ve selected along with the matching job title 5) Next you will type in your zip code in the zip code field and select 50 in the drop down box which means that your search results will reflect a 50 mile radius. If you live in a smaller, or remote, city you may want to pull results from the nearest metropolitan area.
Once you click on “Search” you will see the name(s) of the Recruiters in your area who currently work at the companies for which you would like to work for and are on your hit-list. As a rule of thumb, if there are no Recruiters in your area then adjust your search to reflect just "HR" "VP" or "Director" job titles. If the company which you are researching has its human resources operations based in a centralized location then you may have to look up on Google exactly where the company is headquartered and then try running a search with a zip code for that area.
Your goal at this point is to identify who works for the companies that you want to work for and specifically who are the Recruiters or HR Managers which you can connect with in regards to the job opportunities on your hit-list.
As you come across Recruiters it’s okay to invite them to connect and join your network. A Recruiter is typically open to new connections so don’t feel otherwise. I know that this might be a new experience for many of you and you might have your reservations but trust me when I say that you are actually making a
Recruiters job much easier when you put yourself in front of them. You will want to connect with as many Recruiters as possible in order to have direct messaging access. LinkedIn limits a Users ability to send a direct message to another User unless you are a first degree connection or a Member of a Group. If you are hesitant as to whether or not you should invite someone to connect an alternative would be to join one of the LinkedIn Groups that they are currently a part of. You can scroll down to the bottom part of their profile to see what groups they are in and join from there. By being a mutual Group Member you will have immediate access to send them a direct message although I still encourage you to send a connection request anyways.
Upon someone accepting your request to connect on LinkedIn you will be sent an email informing you that the invitation has been accepted and contained in the email will be the email address of the person who is now a first degree connection. Besides growing your network you will now have their email address and are another step ahead of the competition.
As an example of how powerful of a tool LinkedIn has become, when I run a search for Recruiters in Jacksonville, FL within a 50 mile zip code radius of where I live I get 730 Recruiters that come up in the search results which means that I or anyone living in Jacksonville, FL has access to 700+ Recruiters. \
In the old days you would call a company by phone or even visit in person to inquire if they are hiring only to be met by a front desk receptionist who would refer you to their website. What’s great about LinkedIn is that there’s nothing standing in the way between you and the first who you want to make direct contact with. LinkedIn essentially eliminates the traditional “Gate Keeper”. Are you excited yet?
Once you’ve identified exactly who you are going after the next step is to make contact by way of a direct message and literally say: "Hi, my name is Don; I found a job that you are hiring for and I want to work for you" which I will dive into the next chapter.
Now, for anyone who's previously said that looking for a job is hard do you still feel that way? The part to keep in mind is that you haven't even applied for a single job yet you are many more steps ahead than the average candidate. This process is no different than working a leads list in sales but again the key
here is that you are selling your skill set for the best possible job opportunity out there. What’s great about LinkedIn is that no matter who you want to work for you have the ability at your fingertips to reach out to them. The only person or thing that should be stopping you is only you. The quicker you realize that what you’ve been doing all along is not working in your favor will be the sooner you say good-bye to old habits. You own your success.
Connecting With Employers Online
Let’s analyze two different job seekers, one is Candidate A and the other is Candidate B. Candidate A spends up to 8-10 hours of their day applying for jobs online at every ABC job board and XYZ employer website.
At an hour per application submitted Candidate A enters 10 daily and 50 weekly on a consistent basis often times submitting applications for multiple listings at the same company. Candidate B wakes up each morning and checks their inbox for emails from Recruiters and hiring managers which they’ve personally contacted.
Candidate B surfs job boards and company career sites for job leads only but leverages social media to get in front of key decision makers. Candidate A spends 6 - 8 months unemployed longer than Candidate B which spends less time applying for jobs online and focuses their efforts on getting in front of key decision makers. The message here is to work smarter and not harder!
Knowing that unless you have the “It” factor or know someone on the inside companies struggle to sort through countless resumes and online applications which substantially delays the hiring process. This is why you must put yourself in front of these folks. I often find myself telling candidates that the job of a Recruiter is not to find you a job but rather it’s up to you.
Recruiters are not out to help America get back to work and their job is not to find unemployed candidates exclusively. Don’t get me wrong however there are a lot of great folks within the HR and staffing industry that I admire tremendously but overall the job of a recruiting professional is to find qualified and skilled candidates who can meet a specific criteria regardless if the candidate is unemployed or not.
You should have not a false pretense of what the job of a Recruiter really is. Too many times I come across a candidate who tells me that he or she has multiple Recruiters “working for them” to which I
simply shake my head in awe. This is a false expectation and please do not fall into this trap. Nobody works for you and especially for free. Granted they might have a vested interest in your success but realize that most Recruiters are often times compensated based on placements so at the end of the day they are going to hustle to get the candidate placed who has the greatest impact on their bottom line.
It’s up to you and only you to follow up and own your success. I will give you an example of someone who is close to me which is my Aunt Olga. I love my Aunt to death like if she were my mother and believe me when I say that she is one of the most loyal workers you will ever meet however call it bad luck or an annual vacation but somehow Aunt Olga finds herself unemployed every single year and it never fails. I say this in the most lightly hearted way but the people in Tallahassee at the unemployment claims division must know her on a first name basis by now.
During Aunt Olga’s latest unemployment stint I reached out to my network on LinkedIn and sent a message to around 50 employment professionals based in South Florida. My message was pretty direct and to the point where basically I stated that a relative of mine was looking for work as an Administrative Assistant within the region. About 3 or 4 connections immediately replied back and asked me to have Aunt Olga reach out to them so as I would normally do I forwarded my Aunt each one of their emails and encouraged her to follow-up with an email introducing herself and attach her resume.
A couple of days later she had an interview scheduled and two more staffing firms working with her. This is great I thought. After a week I followed up with Aunt Olga to find out where she stood with my contacts to which she said that one of the staffing firms asked her to complete an assessment and the other firm had not called her back since she initially reached out to them.
So now I automatically go into Coaching 101 mode and I asked my Aunt why hadn’t she bothered to take the initiative and call the staffing firm which she had not heard back from and inquire if they even received her email and resume in the first place. Aunt Olga replied with “Well that’s not my job”. I then inquired about the staffing firm that asked her to do the assessment to which she informed me that she did not feel that it was necessary to complete.
Do me a favor; if you are going to tap into my network please don’t make me look like an ass. Both
companies were in fact playing their cards like they should. Neither opportunity came to fruition but whose fault is that? As I told my Aunt then and would remind her today, companies do their due diligence in different manners. The firm which asked my Aunt to complete an assessment is pretty standard procedure for anyone who aspires to be an Administrative Assistant. A company needs to test ones proficiency and skill level in multiple areas for that position so for my Aunt to be offended or refuse to move forward is just wrong in my opinion.
I also reminded my Aunt that the firm which never replied to her inquiry was probably legitimately busy with hundreds of other candidates and to avoid being lost in the shuffle she needed to call. Again, only you own your success and nobody can make it happen for you. My Aunt should have also taken my referral into account and given both entities common courtesy. Eventually my Aunt found a job however I now refuse to ever make a personal introduction for her again, family or not. Moving onto the process of what do you say to a Recruiter or potential employer on LinkedIn. Essentially what you are going to do is send each Recruiter from your company hit-list a message through LinkedIn by clicking on the “Send Message” link on their profile. Remember that you can only send a direct message to a first degree connection or if you share a mutual group membership.
Another advantage to joining LinkedIn Groups is if you are in a group that has 100,000+ Members you will now have direct access to communicate freely with those Members also within the group itself. Your initial introduction is going to look like this: Enter the following Introduction:
Hi, my name is ____. I am a _____ professional. I was on your website and saw the following job opening(s) which is of interest to me: (Insert job title and date posted here) Please advise when would be a convenient time for us to discuss either by phone or in person. I look forward to your reply. Sincerely, Carlos Gil
Keep in mind that your initial LinkedIn introduction is no different than your 30-second commercial and it’s meant to be attention grabbing. Let's break down the sample introduction that I provided which I encourage you to write down and begin using right away.
The greeting is important as you want to use his or her name otherwise if you copy and paste your introduction it will not appear to be personalized. Second you are introducing yourself as a professional in a specific industry. Remember that you are not a job seeker nor "in career transition" you are a professional with value. Even if you learned about their job openings on a job board or other source outside of their website you want to let them know that you have taken the time to visit their company site.
Tip: When contacting a Recruiter or H.R. Manager via LinkedIn.com set the tone to be personable by greeting them by their first name. I personally do not like to be called Mr. Gil.
The biggest advantage that you have by contacting a Recruiter or Human Resources Manager directly on LinkedIn as opposed to applying through their website is that you are able to create a dialogue whereas when you apply through their website there is no dialogue and you are dependent on them reaching out to you. Also, by sending a message through LinkedIn that message goes directly to Mr. or Mrs. Recruiters email address which most likely is connected to their BlackBerry, iPhone or PDA.
Keep in mind that to a Recruiter a candidate placement is money therefore if they are intrigued by what they read via email in the form of a LinkedIn message they will likely be compelled to respond right away or at least by the close of business that very same day. I suggest that you give the Recruiter or H.R. Manager at least 72 hours to respond to your inquiry, if at that point they still have not responded then follow-up by sending another message however do not sit idle instead continue to repeat this process amongst multiple hiring companies. It's up to you to create competition for your professional services and expertise.
Sending a reply with 72 hours is professional common courtesy, and most likely they will respond to you. What will happen most of the time however is a message that will read like the following:
Hi Carlos, Thank you for reaching out to me and for taking interest in ABC Company. Yes, we are currently accepting applications from candidates for the positions you mentioned. Please visit our website at www.abccompany.com to apply via our career section.
Now, chances are that the Recruiter you contact is not going to initially invite you to come in for an interview right on the spot nor are they going to offer you a job that day unless they really see something compelling and unique about you on your LinkedIn profile. However, they are going to acknowledge your interest in their company and at this point you've identified if in fact the job(s) for which you've expressed interest in are still available. Another possibility is that very same person responds to your inquiry only to advise you that he or she is not the ideal person to contact but that's OK because they will most likely be able to guide you in the right direction to whoever the ideal contact person is.
I can assure you that before they reply to your inquiry they will take a few minutes to go through your LinkedIn profile. This is where you need to perform an audit on the effectiveness of your profile as I addressed before.
Let's assume that the reply message you've received is in the 95%. At this point you are going to follow their instructions and visit their website to formally apply. Now that you have a direct contact on the inside you are going to invest your time in applying for the jobs which you have expressed interest in and any others for which you feel that you may be qualified for. Once you have applied you are going to send the Recruiter or H.R. Manager a reply through LinkedIn that sounds like this:
Hi Susan, Thank you for replying to my initial inquiry. I followed your instructions and applied for the position(s) via your website. What are the next steps? I look forward to your reply Sincerely,
Think of this dialogue as being a chess match. You will make the initial move and express interest in one or multiple positions at their company, the Recruiter or H.R. Manager will acknowledge your inquiry and make the second move by providing you with instructions to follow, you will make the third move and counter by following their instructions and likewise asking them what is the next step in the process which at this point you've put the ball back in their court.
Only one of two things can happen which is either they are going to feel a sense of urgency and review your application plus resume on the spot to see if in fact you meet their qualifications or they will respond and let you know of a timeframe on when they will be making a decision or calling applicants for interviews. Hopefully you will fall into the first category.
What I guarantee will happen is that the Recruiter or H.R. Manager will be impressed by your initiative and obvious determination so they will review your application personally as opposed to an automatic screening which you would encounter had you applied otherwise. Because you've taken the time to contact the Recruiter or H.R. Manager through LinkedIn and have followed their instructions they may even take the time to schedule an interview with you at this point. If they do not however and they advise you on a timeframe of which they will be reviewing applications do not feel discouraged, this could very well mean that they are still in the early stages of receiving interest from candidates.
I would ask for permission to follow-up within a few days and keep a bridge of communication open. Keeping in mind that your time is as valuable if not more valuable than theirs, you've created a dialogue with a go-to person on the inside and are now much further ahead than probably every other candidate who's also competing for that same position(s).
Imagine their being multiple check-out lines at Wal-Mart with about one hundred people in each line. Each check-out line represents one hundred candidates competing for one job at a time. The gatekeeper is always the biggest obstacle faced when trying to reach a potential decision maker. If you try and call any company on your hit-list by phone and ask to speak with a Recruiter or anyone in their Human Resources department most likely the person on the other end of the line will direct you to their company website. If
you start using LinkedIn as a tool to go directly to the source, create a dialogue, and develop a professional relationship which will help you skip to the front of the job search line then you will be successful.
As I stated before, it’s extremely important that you apply when and only when you have established dialogue with someone on the inside otherwise there is nothing that separates you from any other candidate who’s competing with you. With the information that you now have to effectively source those same jobs you can essentially skip to the front of the job search line with ease. The reason why this process is highly effective is because out of the millions of American's who are either unemployed, underemployed or employed but looking for work a very small percentage are actually doing it. Meaning, if you are following the steps covered you are instantly positioning yourself ahead of those who aren’t. Being unemployed is never an easy challenge to deal with but looking for a job has never been as easy as it is today and hopefully you will now agree with me and put it to practice. The rest is really up to you.
I just wanted to say you made my day today. I hadn't taken the time to read your LinkedIn profile before and you truly are an inspiration so thank you! Laura H.
Carlos, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and your passion with all of us at the West Palm Beach Career Expo. Your commitment to putting together a helpful, insightful, and motivational event was remarkable. I left with so many great ideas, tips, and contacts. I already started getting emails and phones calls from companies. Angela R.
The career expo was fantastic because of you and now I'm more confident and hopeful in my ongoing job search. I have a renewed strength in my job search and I feel so much more positive than I had been feeling. You inspired me just when I really needed it most. Thanks for all of your great ideas. Gayle H.
I am really impressed with you. You took lemons and made lemonade. Natalie F.
Hi Carlos, thank you for all of your hard work. I appreciate all you do to assist so many in their job searches. We need more people like you! Mary Ann B.
Carlos, my personal opinion is no one else could do what you do. I respect you as a young entrepreneur. You do a remarkable a job. It is refreshing to me to watch you use your motivation and dynamic to move mountains. May blessings come to you son. Paul M.
I would like to convey my thanks to you for the wealth of information I received from your presentation at the Career Expo on 4/15/11. It was "BY FAR" the best job fair I have ever attended. The information I received was priceless. Thank you for all that you to help those in need. Gloria R. Carlos, I want to thank you for taking the time to deliver that very timely presentation last week at the job fair. It was the week before that I was saying to myself that there has to be something unique and different about finding jobs in the current job market and economic climate and I think this is it. Eon S.
Dear Carlos, I really enjoyed chatting with you today and wanted to let you know that I appreciated the seminars at today's Career Expo very much. They were informative, entertaining, and motivational. My weakness has been networking. I'm very glad you stressed how important it is. Annette R. Thank you so much Carlos for sharing your LinkedIn expertise with our class of 40 job seekers. I wish there were more people like you who give so much of their time and is always willing to help other people “work smarter not harder” by sharing their experiences and knowledge to help others success. You’re awesome! Patty P.
Carlos, I enjoyed reading your story. I have no doubt the fact you suffered a job loss prior to starting your company is a factor in your success. For those of us currently "in transition," we appreciate having someone on "our side" that truly understands and cares! Wishing you continued success! Nancy P.
Thank you Carlos for putting together not just an ordinary job fair but one with substance and excellent information professionals like me can put to good use. I've learned how to take networking to the 10th power and make great contacts! Who knew?! Thank goodness you do! Vivian C.
Hi Carlos, your presentation at the "Launch Your Career" seminar was outstanding. Your recommendations will make my job search activities more efficient and effective. Bob H.
Carlos Gil is a Social Entrepreneur and Workplace Expert whose work has been featured by CNNMoney.com, AOL Jobs and multiple news media outlets across the United States. Having previously represented Fortune 500 companies within the banking and finance industry such as: Citigroup, Regions Bank and AIG Gil, a South Florida native, initially dropped out of high school at age 18 to work as a parttime shoe salesman. In 2008 Gil founded JobsDirectUSA to connect career professionals with hiring companies in America. Ironically Gil’s commitment to helping America get back to work came as a direct result of his own job loss. In 2010, Gil was recognized by Fast Company Magazine’s “Influence Project” as one of the most influential people online and number 39 out of 33,000 entries. In 2011 Gil’s company was listed by the Jacksonville Business Journal as the #1 Staffing Firm and Employment Agency in Northeast Florida. Today, Gil spends most of his time being a dedicated father, husband, public speaker and social media consultant.