Weekly business rail, with job search tips, BBB holiday tips, and more.
Tip of the Week
Resume? Check. Cover letter? Check. Now you're ready to begin that job search, right? Wrong. There may be some very important things you're forgetting about that could dramatically enhance your job search.
Nowadays, job searches involve much more than simply submitting hundreds of resumes and cover letters. "Today's job search requires a strategy that uses social media as well as traditional vehicles," says Wendy Wagner, career services director for The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
According to a 2012 Jobvite survey, 92 percent of U.S. companies use social networks to find talent, with LinkedIn the most popular. "Make sure you have a social media strategy to augment traditional methods such as face-to-face networking and informational interviews," says Lyndsay Cooper, career services director for The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta.
Wagner and Cooper offer the following tips to give yourself an edge in your job search.
- Brand consistency. Make sure your profile is professional and reflects the job you're looking for across all social media platforms. Ensure your privacy settings are secure (especially on Facebook). On LinkedIn, make sure your profile is complete, including skills and recommendations. On Twitter, link to your website, blog or online resume. And don't forget Pinterest, YouTube, Google Plus and Foursquare.
- Know your audience. Your audience in Facebook is different from your audience in Twitter or LinkedIn. Make sure your updates reflect that. On LinkedIn, share articles and blogs on industry-related topics. On Facebook, post more personal (but not too detailed) updates to remind your friends that you're in the job market.
- Be proactive. Use social media to connect with recruiters, employers and employees of companies you'd like to work for. Join - and participate in - organizations, groups and blogs in your industry or alumni groups. Become an industry expert or thought leader.
- Research. Use social media to create your target list of companies, then research those companies and their employees. Use hashtags on Twitter to find jobs. For example, if you are interested in fashion, search #fashionjobs. Sites like Technorati or Twellow let you search people's bios and the URLs in their bios; you can easily find, follow and engage key employees of those companies so they get to know you before you approach them for a job. Prepare for a job interview by using social media to research the interviewer and find common topics to break the ice.
- Network online. Expand your network and engage others with similar interests by posting, sharing/forwarding, tweeting and retweeting relevant articles and blogs. This raises your online profile, and encourages others to do the same for you. Twitter works well for this.
- Know your online profile. Google yourself and make sure what you see is what you want it to be. Go to Klout.com so you can see your "klout" score, which reports how influential and engaged you are across platforms. Another great site is wefollow.com, a Twitter directory organized by shared interests or categories. Users can add themselves to the categories that best fit their interests.
The excitement of the holidays creates a tendency for consumers to overspend, but planning ahead can lessen the impact when credit card bills start rolling in. The Better Business Bureau offers financial tips to help make sure your holidays, and the days after, are merry and bright!
Less is more: Reduce gift-giving. For work gatherings, have everyone draw a name and give one gift. Set limits with family members and then get creative about finding something in your new, lower price range. For the person who has everything, consider making a charitable donation in his or her name.
Do it yourself: Homemade crafts and decorations can be fun to make and to give. Consider baking or canning your gifts this year. Give gift certificates for future services (babysitting, dog walking, leaf raking) or special events after the holidays (shows, ice skating, sleigh rides).
Reduce, reuse, recycle: Use less of everything, because little things add up. Is it necessary to giftwrap that huge box? How about putting a "clue" under the tree instead and have the recipient find the present hidden someplace else in the house. Reuse gift bags - they are sturdy enough to be used five or six times. Make your own gift tags and decorations. Spray paint old candleholders gold or silver instead of buying new ones.
Trim energy costs: Switch to LED lights. You'll not only burn less energy, and you'll need fewer strands because the lights are brighter. Turn off your outside decorations when you go to bed. Turn down the thermostat when no one is home. Combine shopping trips and errands, and carpool to family gatherings.
For more information on holiday shopping and finding businesses you can trust, visit www.bbb.org.
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GateHouse News Service