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Updated: 2 hours 58 min ago

Re-Boot Week 3: Comprehensive Company Research

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 8:47am
Eighty percent of available jobs are never advertised, and over half of all employees get their jobs through networking, according to BH Careers International. Therefore, the people you know are some of the most effective resources for your job search. The network of people that you know and the people that they know can lead to information about specific job openings that are not publicly posted. You must carry out an active, as opposed to a passive, job search. It is not enough to respond to leads from want ads or employment agencies. Carrying out an active search allows you to control the job search process and opens up many more job opportunities. You will be much better armed for success if you start your search with comprehensive company research.
Find out as much as you can about each of your target companies. The information you will need includes answers to the following:
What are the company's products or services?What is the company's status in the industry? Is the company large or small, growing or downsizing?Who are the company’s competitors?What can you learn about the job you want (the job duties, salary, benefits, work environment)?What is the public image of the firm and what type of person "fits in?"What are some of the firm's current problems?Which people have the power to hire you?What is the company culture?Where do I fit in; what departments can best use my skills, knowledge and expertise?
There are a number of ways that you can obtain answers to these questions:Directories and publications. Some examples are:The Career Guide - Dun's Employment Opportunities DirectoryThe Vault Reports - provides information about companies and what their employees think of these companiesGlassDoor – provides information on companies and employee insightsCareerSearch – resource available through RIT Job Zone, provides comprehensive company information by industry and geographic locationHoovers – in-depth company information, including financials
Newspapers, business periodicals, trade and professional journals. 
LinkedIn.  LinkedIn has a wealth of information to help you research companies.  Use the Company tab to get direct information on a company.  Use the industry directory to browse companies by industry (  Do an Advanced People search to find RIT alumni in your targeted companies; connect with them and conduct informational interviews.
The companies themselves. Call the human resources or public relations department of the firm. Get brochures, an annual report, descriptions of relevant jobs and anything else that describes the company.
Informational interview. Meet with someone from the firm to get more detailed information about the company itself and possibly a job lead.
Professional and trade associations. Most industries have their own trade associations. These associations may hold regular meetings and publish periodicals, both of which are good sources of inside information about member companies.
Armed with this knowledge, you’re now ready to take the next step in your job search journey; reaching out to the contacts who can help you connect with the hiring managers in your targeted departments!

Re-Boot Week 2: Developing a Targeted Marketing Plan

Tue, 06/18/2013 - 8:52am
Last week we discussed the creation of your personal brand. Based on that self-analysis and value development, I hope you were able to gain some greater insights about your professional career path and goals. Ideally, at this point you have defined your niche and are ready to implement a strategy. The first step in this process is to develop a marketing plan that will effectively reach your target audience: Your Future Employer.
Your personal marketing plan is a very important tool in your job search. It brings focus and direction to your job search and allows you to spend your time actually moving toward your goals instead of wasting time trying to figure out what to do next. It provides direction for your job search and guides networking contacts to provide the appropriate type of help that you need. Your personal marketing plan should contain the following:
1.      Your Preferred Job Titles. You will want to have a large list of job titles to account for all of the different ways that companies label what it is that you want to do. Resources like O-Net can help you construct your list.  It’s also helpful to search on LinkedIn; use the keyword search for words that are in your brand/field/niche, and check out the profiles of others who do the activities you want to do, for ideas of job titles.
2.      Value Proposition Statement. This is simply defined as who you are, what you have to offer and what audience you serve. It can be shortened version of your professional profile statement (branding statement) or your elevator pitch.
3.      Core Competencies/Work History Summary. This is a brief summary, highlighting your skills, experiences and key accomplishments that make you unique and valuable to an employer. This needs to be very specific and relevant.
4.      Market Preferences. What industry do you want to work in? What size company fits your best? What geographic location would you be willing to work in? Answering these questions will further define and clarify your options. These are the factors and criteria that you will use to develop your target list of employers.
5.      List of Targeted Companies. This should be a comprehensive list of companies that you have identified that match your professional goals, values and style. It is a list of organizations that you will target your networking efforts towards. You will focus your efforts on cultivating and developing relationships within these companies.

Once you have created your personal marketing plan, it is important to take a proactive approach in implementing your strategy and delivering your brand. (Next week we’ll discuss comprehensive company research, including finding the right people within your targeted companies to contact.)  Reaching out proactively will give you the opportunity to get in front of more hiring managers. Keep in mind that companies prefer to hire candidates that are referred, and many of the best jobs never get advertised. Your personal marketing plan has to be very well crafted and thought out to stand out from the competition.  Your weekly email includes a sample of a marketing plan to help you get started.  

Re-Boot Week 1: Personal Brand and Value Development for Effective Self-marketing

Tue, 06/11/2013 - 8:49am

Personal Brand and Value Development for Effective Self-marketing
Building a personal brand is important for almost everyone today.  It’s especially important for those searching for a new or different job. Everyone has a personal brand already. It is what you are known for; the image that comes to mind when your friends, family, peers, colleagues and supervisors hear your name. The key is to effectively and deliberately develop your brand to accurately reflect your professional values and goals. There are a few steps and tips to consider along the way:
1.      Identify Your Values.Your values help define you and make up the core of who you are. If you have not defined your core values, you could very well be wasting valuable time and energy pursuing opportunities that are not a good match for you and will ultimately leave you feeling dissatisfied and unhappy. Dissatisfaction can be your sub-conscience telling you that you are not paying enough attention to who you really are. There are a number of assessment tools that can be useful in defining your values. (Reflective Journaling can also be a great way to break down what drives you.)
2.      Assess Your Value-Added Skills and Qualities. What qualities do you have that help you do your job better than anyone else? How have you been remembered by employers in the past? What do you have to offer those that you are connected to in your network? What are the three things you want someone to remember about you when they first meet you? Make sure your answers are consistent. Getting some outside perspectives can help you answer these questions. Ask for or review LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements to identify consistent trends.  3.      Craft Your Brand. At this stage, you should have a pretty good idea of who you are as a person and as a professional. You have identified the primary product that you are selling (your services, resources, competencies, etc.). The goal now is to boil down everything you have just learned or identified about yourself and present it in a clear, succinct manner, incorporating your core values and your passions. You should develop a personal brand statement that will serve as the baseline for all of your marketing materials and channels. Be sure to use keywords and be relevant.
 "Experienced Career and Academic Counselor in the field of Higher Education. Provides customized experiences for students and alumni, through utilization of superb customer service and relationship building capabilities. Works tirelessly to build effective partnerships with students, colleagues and the community to serve the best interests of the institute and its invested agents."
Create a vision for where you want to go in your career and be sure that it is effectively communicated in your brand.
4.      Monitor and Modify. Monitor your success. Are you achieving results? Obtain feedback and get the opinions of outsiders to determine if you are sending the appropriate message that you THINK you are sending. If you are not hearing back from the companies you are targeting, or your actual message is different than your intended message, then it is time to take corrective action and try again.  Be very honest with yourself in developing your personal brand, and take the necessary time to do it effectively. Unquestionably, who we are and the attitudes we have affect where we end up in life. Our personal and career success are directly affected by the presence or absence of qualities such as honesty, loyalty, leadership, intelligence and persistence. For career fulfillment, the connection between character and destiny is clear: the more closely your career destiny aligns with your character and personal values, the more fulfillment you will find.

Share your comments; was developing your brand an easy process?  Do you feel confident that your branding statement best reflects your values, goals and strengths?  How will you use this information going forward in your search?

Moving Forward

Mon, 08/20/2012 - 9:12am

Our virtual job club blog ends this week, but for some of you, the job search continues.  We’d like to end this series with some final suggestions to help in your job search efforts, and an invitation to take advantage of our other resources and services for job seekers.
Top Tips to Maximize your Job Search:1.       Organize your search.  Treat your job search as a project that you have to plan and manage; break it into manageable tasks or action items.  Make sure your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.  Evaluate your progress regularly; determine what’s not working, and why, and then change your action plan to change your outcome.2.       Brand yourself.  Determine your personal brand – what sets you apart from your competition – by assessing your skills, values, strengths, and weaknesses.  Once you know your brand, use it consistently throughout all aspects of your search – marketing materials, social media, interviews.3.       Make sure all your marketing materials and skills are complete, and the best they can be.  Target your resumes to each company, develop cover letters that match your qualifications to the job, have appropriate supporting materials (portfolio, samples), develop a marketing plan to further target your search, have a powerful elevator speech, and polish your interview skills by doing a mock interview.4.       Be a proactive – not a passive – job seeker.  Don’t just answer want ads, apply to online postings and jobs on company websites, and leave repeated voice messages.  Actively search out hidden jobs, network to gain contacts, target companies that match your skills, target decision makers, and conduct informational interviews. 5.       Manage your references – they can make or break your job search.  Keep your references current, and acquire a wide range – about 10 – who can speak to various aspects of your qualifications; you can then choose the most appropriate for each job.  Make sure you ask if they’re willing to provide a positive reference for you, and update them on your status and new skills.  Let them know when they might be contacted, and by whom.6.       Follow up appropriately.  Call or email after sending your resume to further promote yourself, send thank you notes after all interviews – including informational interviews, and call or email after interviews, if you haven’t heard by the date specified.  Also keep in touch with informational interview contacts – let them know you’ve done what they’ve suggested, and see how you can help them.7.       Always present yourself in a positive way; have a good attitude with no negativity towards your situation or former employer.  Be enthusiastic, confident and prepared, and indicate your eagerness to learn and grow.  Keep your skills current, acquiring education or training as needed, and be ready to address questions of overqualification or age.8.       Get noticed!  Have a strong social media profile, with relevant key words, so you can be found by recruiters.  Demonstrate your expertise through a blog, LinkedIn/Twitter discussions, and professional association articles.  Participate actively in LinkedIn group discussions, and take leadership roles in professional associations and volunteer organizations.9.       Work with a recruiter.  Many jobs are posted only through third party recruiters, so this should be a resource in your search.  There are recruiters for each industry and field; you can find them through LinkedIn and online directories.10.   Use LinkedIn fully; have a complete and dynamic profile, request recommendations, participate in groups, apply to posted jobs, and use your contacts to connect with key people at your targeted companies.  11.   Use other social media sites in your search, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.  All these allow you to make contacts through networking, demonstrate your expertise, and find posted jobs.  See our narrated presentation on Connections (on the alumni programs page) for more specifics on using social media in your job search.12.   Access the hidden job market – this is the most important step in a job search, as the vast majority of jobs are found through networking.  Create targeted lists of companies, research them and find contacts.  Use the RIT Alumni Online Community Tiger Locator and the Professional Network on Job Zone to find alumni as resources to find key contacts.  CareerSearch (on Job Zone) and professional associations are other helpful resources.  Once you find contacts, connect with them – conduct networking or informational interviews to build relationships that can lead to jobs.  This is often time consuming, but with persistence can lead to positive results.13.   Use our office; our website has many resources for your job search, there is an advisor who can help with your search strategy and specific resources for your industry/field, you’re welcome to attend our Career Fairs, and our Professional Network can help with contacts.  
We will have a full slate of programs starting in September, for RIT alumni job seekers.  From our monthly Job Club, to success skills workshops and career transition group programs, to webinars, we’re here to help you succeed in your career goals.  Let us know how we can help!

Working with Third Party Agents--An Inside Look

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 9:16am

Working with a third party agent in your job search can be a very vital strategy if you understand the world of third party recruiting. It is a great opportunity to get your resume circulated to many different people with little effort on your part, and gain visibility for positions that may never get advertised. I recently sat down with Sarah Burke in our Co-op and Career Services Office here at RIT to discuss the nature of this type of recruiting. Sarah worked in the Staffing and Recruiting Industry for over 20 years before joining RIT’s Co-op and Career Services Office, and offers some great insights.
There are a variety of different agencies that a job seeker might work with in executing their search for employment. These include, but are not limited to, Temp Agencies, Staffing Firms and Head Hunters. Sarah started off with two very important pieces of information: 1.       The search firm exists to help client companies find employees, NOT to help people find jobs. That is just a resulting outcome.2.       An employee candidate should NEVER pay a fee for working with a Search Agent. The client company ALWAYS pays the fee, which is a percentage of the employee’s salary.
Sarah points out many advantages to working with a third party agent. Working with an agent allows you to be in more places at once and gains you additional exposure to unadvertised positions that you wouldn’t be considered for otherwise. Some companies only hire through third party recruiters, so that is the only way to get your foot in the door. Building a strong relationship with recruiting agents also keeps you well-informed on industry trends and keeps you connected within your industry. You should establish those relationships well in advance of needing them so that you have a well established reputation and have developed rapport with the recruiter. The recruiter will be more inclined to refer you to their client if they respect you.
From the perspective of a former third party recruiter, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind:1.       Don’t spread yourself too thin. Develop relationships with 3-4 firms.2.       Identify one person at each firm as your main point of contact and develop rapport with him/her. Keep in touch with that person. Follow up, and if a job is not a good fit for you enlighten the recruiter as to why and possibly recommend a friend or reputable alternative candidate for the recruiter to contact if applicable.3.       Make sure your resume is tailored to the type of work the firm does. Identify which firms typically recruit for people within the industry that you are looking to work in, and partner with them.4.       Try to avoid the overuse of acronyms, especially if they are company specific.5.       If staying local is your goal, don’t overlook contract positions. They could be your foot in the door to a company or industry that you are trying to get into.

The Brand, Myself and I

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 10:00am
How are you perceived online? If you don’t have an answer to this question, you are going to want to read/skim this! Helpful tips on personal branding with the use of SEO and social media tools along with a closer look on developing your web profile. Written by Juliet Rocco Personal branding is just as important as deciding which bank to trust your finances with. Yes, I am aware that I just used the words bank and trust in the same sentence, but let’s really look at personal branding more in-depth. Whether you're a student, business professional, teacher, etc.--how you're viewed online can have a big impact on your professional and everyday life. The ideas of having any online privacy are long gone and you probably have googled yourself once or twice just to see what’s up (don’t worry, everyone has done it at least once or twice). However, many people ignore checking anything that could be shot out into the lovely universe of the internet. This is where I come in to help. One of the first things to do if you haven’t already is set up a Google Profile so that when your name does come up, there is correct information being given to searchers. Note that this is not a Google + profile, it’s simply the most basic information that you should be comfortable sharing with the public. This is especially helpful when you’re in contact with a company for an interview or collaboration and you can bet my college tuition they will most definitely be doing a web search on you! All you need is a Gmail account to get started.

So, this is how my profile looks to everyone: Make sure when creating your page that Profile discovery is set to “Profile visible in search.” This is the most important thing that needs to be kept checked on once your profile is completed. Once you’re done with that, you can google yourself all you want and the profile should be the first hit when searched. Something to keep in mind–this is only assuming the person searching for you is using Google and not Bing, Yahoo!, or any other search engine because they all use slightly different algorithms and top hits will not be the same.

Last week, I went to the Social Media and Communication Symposium (SMACS) at Rochester Institute of Technology.  One of the speakers was discussing, an up-and-coming social media platform that compiles marketing metrics in all platforms across social networks. If you’re involved in all types of social media, sharing content online, and anything else that involves people responding to you, then this is the next biggest must have! Not familiar with Klout? Here’s a solid definition, compliments a la Wikipedia:
“The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.” 

Of course, branding yourself is obviously not limited to online activity. We must be aware of how we act, dress, speak, and respond to others in everyday walking life because you have to leave your computer eventually whether you like it or not! When it comes to socializing, your own mother has probably used the phrase “just be yourself” way too many times to even count, but you know it’s completely true. Mom is always right.

Takeaway: Think of your personal self branding as if you were a product that people needed to use everyday, like a car. People don’t want you to be enigmatic and full of problems. They want consistency and dependability (also something aesthetically pleasing if you’re blessed with good looks). For some, it may be more difficult to establish a clear cut personal brand strategy. Stay strong, you will find your niche!

Essentials for Using Social Media in Your Job Search

Mon, 07/30/2012 - 10:34am

Most people understand the importance of networking, and most understand that LinkedIn is the premier social media site for professional networking purposes, and have an account set up, with a few connections.  But here’s where many people stop; they don’t know how to fully utilize LinkedIn as part of an ongoing job search and career management strategy.  And when I mention using Facebook and Twitter as job search tools, I usually get blank stares.  So here are some tips for taking full advantage of these powerful networking tools in your job search.  And if you’ve been hesitant to dive into social media, now’s the time!LinkedIn:·         Create a complete profile – write a headline/tagline that describes your expertise areas or career ambitions, display a professional photo, develop a comprehensive summary that indicates type of position you’re seeking and emphasizes your qualifications with relevant key words·         Request recommendations – your connections make recommendations about your work, skills, attitude, what sets you apart – these can influence potential employers·         Join groups, and be active – include groups related to your industry and field, special interest groups (i.e. women’s groups), RIT Alumni group and other alma maters·         Demonstrate your expertise by contributing on Answers section, (under More tab)·         Find RIT alumni at your targeted companies – connect for more information on the company, and tips for getting hired there, possible recommendations to hiring managers·         Research companies – review the new hires section ·         Find and connect with recruiters for your industry – using Advanced People tab and the word “recruiter” for your industry·         Use your contacts to connect with key people at your targeted companies – request introductions, try to connect with hiring managers·         Update your status frequently, to stay in people’s minds·         Apply to posted jobs using Jobs tab – many companies ONLY use LinkedIn to post jobs
Facebook:·         Include your resume, link to your LinkedIn profile, and other materials that demonstrate your expertise (blogs, articles) on your profile·         Keep your professional groups separate from your personal groups with privacy settings and list function; include business contacts as well as family and friends·         Become a fan of your targeted companies – check regularly for upcoming events, changes in the company, other pertinent information you can use·         Use the Marketplace to search job opportunities·         Use Classmate search and Coworker search for networking – RIT, other schools (including high school), and former companies – see where your friends are working now·         Add Branch Out application for career networking –
Twitter:·         Create a strong, professional profile that highlights your qualifications and career goals·         Add a link to your online resume·         Follow experts for your industry and field – find them by searching for a relevant key word and clicking on “People” in the left hand module·         Follow targeted companies, and people who work there·         Share your expertise through Tweets, including articles and relevant news stories you find·         Use job search hashtags such as #hiring, #recruiting, #joblistings, #nowhiring; companies use these to advertise positions·         Apply to jobs through @Microjobs, and http://TweetMyJobs ·         Make connections with key people in your industry·         Use Twitter Chats to make connections and be involved in discussions about specific topics
Discussion:  How do you use LinkedIn in your job search?  What tips and suggestions can you share with the group?  Have you used Facebook and Twitter as part of your search? 

The Most Important Tool in Your Career Transition Toolkit

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 10:02am
This week's post is written by Paul Sigas, a management consultant who most recently has worked with Career Development Services, providing career planning, transition support, training and management development services to individuals and organizations.  Paul is currently a mentor with SCORE of Greater Rochester.

The Most Important Tool in Your Career Transition Toolkit.  Yes, your tool kit.  You know all that stuff that you need to support your job search campaign…resume, reference list, business cards, practice interview questions….and your commercial.
Your 60 commercial (let’s shoot for 45), your intro, your elevator speech.  Call it whatever, but make no mistake, it is the single most important tool you have.You’ll use it for face to face interviews, for networking, at job fairs on the phone, at social gatherings, when you see someone at Wegmans.  Many of these opportunities will not involve your resume.
And it is not just what you say but how you say it…smile on your face, positive attitude.
But many people are not good at talking about themselves, especially if it feels like bragging or sales.  If that is your situation, here is a structure that helped get me started and has continued to work well.  Stick to the facts.   Let’s develop a fact based intro that we can enhance as we become more comfortable with various situations.
Divide your commercial into 3 sections:Section 1:  Your career history.  “ I graduated from RIT and began my career with … a ….  From there I moved to …. where I ….”Time: about 50% of your commercial
Section 2:  Where are you now?  Make this short and sweet and positive..            good eye contact.              “I was impacted by the recent downsizing at …….”Time:  about 1 minute at most
Section 3:  “I am now looking to….”  “ I saw your job listing…”            Make this fit the circumstances.  This is the focus of your  conversation going forward.  Make sure the person you are talking with understands this piece.Time:  Balance of 45 sec.
Write these down.  Practice them until you can say them naturally.  Keep a written copy by every phone .  After this becomes natural you can begin to insert some marketing phrases.
Good luck!

What's Holding You Back? Join the Discussion!

Mon, 07/16/2012 - 11:46am
We're at the halfway point in our summer Virtual Job Club, and we'd like to hear from you!  So let us know - what's holding you back in your job search?  What issues are you dealing with?  Are these posts helpful?  What would you like to see addressed in this forum?  We have many willing experts, eager to share advice; let's utilize their expertise!  And if something has worked for you, let the group know also. - the best part of a blog is people sharing ideas with each other.

5 Steps to Bring Your A-Game to Your Next Networking Event

Mon, 07/09/2012 - 2:51pm
This week's post is written by Tina Smagala, a Leadership Development Consultant and Regional Director for RV Rhodes LLC.

While social networking is the newest buzz, networking with people at meetings, conferences, and events will never go out of style.  Learning how to effectively work a room and make meaningful connections with people can be an extremely valuable job search strategy.  Below are 5 steps to help you bring your A-game to your next networking event.1.         Arrive – When you arrive at the networking event, walk around. Don’t be tempted to sit down even if others are.  Remain standing so that you can approach others and others can easily approach you.   Be sure to keep your business cards in your pocket or someplace where they are easily accessible.   Wear your name tag just below your right shoulder so it is visible and within people’s sightlines when you shake hands.  Be sure your first name is easy to read so you make it as effortless as possible for people to call you by name and remember your name.  Think of your name tag as a welcome mat that makes you more approachable.  2.         Approach – After you arrive and walk around, approach people who are standing alone, talking to someone you already know, or who are in the refreshments line.3.         Assert – As you approach someone, assert yourself by greeting the person with a smile and a firm handshake while saying ‘hello’ followed by your first name and/or first and last name. Always be prepared to answer the question, what do you do?.  When you answer this question, respond as if the person asked you how do you help?.  How you help is why people do business with you or why people should hire you.   In 25 words or less, your explanation of how you help should peak people’s interest so that they ask you more questions and you both become engaged in the conversation.  When people ask me what I do, I usually say that I help make the life of leaders and teams easier and less stressful.  Isn’t that more interesting than saying I’m a consultant?  Most of the time, people are interested in learning more about how I do that.  Be sure to introduce yourself in a manner that projects enthusiasm and confidence.  4.         Attend – After you both have exchanged introductions, ask the person open-ended questions that begin with “what” and “how” to learn more about them and to engage them in conversation such as, What do you enjoy most about your work? or How long have you been in that industry for?  The more you learn about others, the more likely you can help them or someone they know.5.         Appreciate – End the conversation on a positive note by shaking hands, exchanging business cards, and expressing your appreciation such as, “I appreciate your interest and I’ll follow-up with an email to schedule a time for us to meet and talk further.” After the conversation, jot down a few notes about the person, including the date and where you met on the back of their business card to help you remember them.  Be sure to only exchange business cards after a conversation in which rapport has been established.  It is presumptuous to assume that someone is interested in receiving your business card at the beginning of a conversation.   Prepare and practice your self-introduction of how you help so that you can communicate it with ease and confidence and set the stage for making a meaningful connection!Tina Smagala is a Leadership Development Consultant and Regional Director for RV Rhodes LLC.  She can be reached at or 585-721-6538.

Transferrable Skills: Identification and Marketing of Them

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 9:02am
Written by Sharitta Gross, Career Services Program Coordinator, Rochester Institute of Technology
When thinking about how to effectively transition from one sector that you may have spent numerous years working in to another that is somewhat similar (but not in direct relation), it is sometimes difficult to think outside the box and see how your existing skill set can be used in another environment.For example: a Psychology major that has worked in the human services field as a youth advocate for 8 years may be a good K-12 Program Director within a community college.Another example: an experienced engineer with, say, about 10+ years experience that involved presentations, being a team lead and streamlining processes may be an ideal faculty member at a traditional or non-traditional learning institution.Let’s give one more example, in which I will use myself as the subject: a professional with a Liberal Arts background who began their career mentoring at-risk youth and later moved on to assist the unemployed within their community with their career development may be a great fit for a counseling role that involves employer development.
So, what are transferrable skills, anyway? According to resume writer and creator of, Kevin Donlin, transferable skills are talents you've acquired that can help an employer but that aren't immediately relevant to the job you seek.  They are experiences like volunteer work, hobbies, sports, previous jobs, college coursework or even life happenings can lead you to find these skills.
Now that we’ve defined them, how to you identify them? That’s easier than you think! Just look at the job(s) that you are interested in. Pulling out the core competencies, about 3-5, think about your work history in its totality—including your volunteer experience—and draw similarities. From there you could adjust your resume by integrating key words and phrases into your resume to show an alignment between your skill set and the primary duties the job requires. We often think that the employer wants to see an exact match, sometimes feeling discouraged that we only have 6-7 of the 10 requirements. But realistically what most employers want to see is that you have the basic ability required to learn and perform the task at hand. If you can see yourself doing the job and are able to verbalize it on paper (and in a practice interview!), then apply. Let them tell you ‘no’!
Homework: step outside your comfort zone and identify 1-2 jobs functions you have always wanted to perform, but thought you would be unable to because of your degree and/or work history. Thereafter, take pen to paper (or type it on your pc/IpadJ) and work on matching your existing skill set up with the core requirements. Where is the skill gap? Could that which you identify as a ‘gap’ be remedied by a class or two, or would an entirely new degree be required? If you are not sure, Google O*net and put in your ideal job title. The relevant search results will give you some of the typical tasks for the job function, as well as the typical education requirements.Discussion: What is the most difficult thing you’ve found in completing the homework—the perception of what you did in your former role, or being able to picture yourself doing something different? Have you ever shadowed anyone who works in a role that interests you and how did that help you to determine your next steps?

Getting Your Resume Past the Online Application Process

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 8:43am
Getting your resume in front of a hiring manager has become a very difficult task. Automated application systems have forced job candidates to get more creative in how they pursue their job searches. Everyone utilizes different strategies and tactics in pursuing a job search. There is no single, “One-Size-Fits-All” model or formula that you can plug into and automatically generate a job. However, there are some key pieces of information that are applicable to everyone and will help you avoid having your resume sit in an application database for months on end with no response.
Tailor your resume.Your resume has to interest the hiring manager that is reading it. Think about your target audience and do your homework on the company and the hiring manager. What are their core values? Have they been in the news lately? Can you identify any issues or topics that might be their main focus at the present time? Align your application materials in order to address the primary focus of the company and the hiring manager.
Utilize keywords.With the prevalent use of automated application systems, it is now more important than ever to strategically utilize keywords. Your resume needs to mimic the job description without copying and pasting the exact verbiage, as it is written in the job description. It is also good practice to stay current on industry jargon to ensure that you are utilizing appropriate keywords.
Some people have started getting very creative about how they are incorporating keywords into their resumes. One controversial tactic has been the use of “White Font” to canvas keywords in the margins. The idea is that you fill the margins with white font keywords that cannot be seen, but will be picked up by any resume scanning software. One of the problems with this is that some programs strip all formatting, including font color. How silly would you feel if your sly tactic were revealed by the employer instantaneously, upon receiving your resume? A skilled resume writer should be able to include those keywords in a manner that is visible to the hiring manager, and strategically match their skills to the written job description in a way that is not deceptive to the employer. Most hiring managers or recruiters will spend less than 30 seconds on the initial review of your resume. They are the ones that have defined the keywords for the automated system to use in the first place, so if they cannot see those within the first few seconds of reading, they will move on to the next resume.
Provide value.Recruiters sift through hundreds, sometimes thousands, of resumes for each requisition that they have to fill. So, it is very important that you grab their attention and get to the point. If they land on a resume that is filled with “fluff”, then they will quickly set it aside in the “No” pile and move on. There are some terms that have been overly used and have become very cliché in regards to resume writing (ie. Team Player, Motivated, Strong Work Ethic, etc.).  Actions speak louder than words, so don’t TELL the employer that you have these traits, SHOW them. Hone in on your specific accomplishments that demonstrate what you have to offer the employer. Your performance is far more important that your responsibilities and duties that you were assigned. Quantitative data is great proof of your performance
Networking does wonders.Finally, there is no substitute for networking. One of the best ways to get your resume in front of the hiring manager is to apply online, but then also have it placed in front of the hiring manager directly by a mutual friend, family member, or current (respected) employee of the organization. The risk for the employer in hiring you is minimized if you come highly recommended by someone that the employer already knows, respects and trusts.

HOMEWORK:Review job descriptions for positions in areas that you are interested in and start tailoring your resume and LinkedIn profile (if you have one) to incorporate the important buzzwords of the industry. Modify your materials to focus on your accomplishments rather than your duties.
DISCUSSION:What tactics have you found success with in your job search, and what hasn’t worked so well for you? Have you been able to get your resume in front of the hiring manager and obtain and interview, or is it getting stuck in the database with no response?

Job Searching? Target Market Yourself—Times Two or Three!

Mon, 06/18/2012 - 9:18am
This week's post is from Donna Rawady, an Executive Coach and regular volunteer for the RIT Career Services Office.  Check out her blog at

In today’s job market most candidates realize, that although it’s important to set specific career goals for yourself, it’s also important to maintain a level of flexibility around desired outcomes for the perfect job. Here are some strategies and ideas that may be helpful to consider.
Most of us understand the benefits of target marketing—focusing on a specific segment of a market—when we’re selling a product and/or service. The same advantages apply when selling ourselves. Why target market when job searching? -          Our audience is easier to identify and communicate with -          The language and angle of the information shared specifically and more quickly appeals to the needs of the prospective employer -          Contacts for networking in a specific segment are easier to identify
During a job search, how can you focus on the job you most hope to land, and still maintain flexibility about what you might consider, or be considered for?
Try the multi-track approach—consider exploring and target marketing yourself simultaneously within two or three different tracks of interest.
Here are a couple of examples where this approach could work well:
Perhaps you’re a gifted graphic artist. Your tracks might include: a role in a corporate communications department; a graphic arts position with a national web design firm; and/or an independent artist contractor for a small entrepreneurial advertising firm who needs the extra help in order to serve their growing client base.
Say you’re a seasoned mortgage broker recently laid off from a mortgage brokerage firm. After carefully reflecting on your skills and exploring your possible interests, you decide that in addition to seeking out a similar role in a similar environment, you may consider a position as a loan officer in a bank, or a field sales representative in a corporate environment.
Target marketing while triple-tracking may include these simultaneous strategies:-          Preparing three different and customized resumes focused on each role and environment-          Creating three separate lists of potential companies/employers including their contact information-          Creating three different lists of potential contacts who may help you network within the separate track areas
In planning and implementing the above strategies, be sure to chunk down your actions into doable steps. On a day when you’re feeling overwhelmed with your search and you find yourself lacking motivation, you might choose to work on a contact list, versus reaching out. On a day when you’re feeling more energized you might make that call or send that email that requests an informational meeting or interview.
Keeping your options open will increase your opportunities. Keeping your search tracked and simultaneously focused will increase your odds for successfully marketing yourself.
Donna Rawady is an executive coach. She can be reached at:;; 585-721-0259 Check out my GET REAL blog on leadership, coaching and life:

Introductions and Personal Branding

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 9:16am
Welcome to our RIT Alumni Virtual Job Club! This 10 week program will allow you to stay connected to fellow RIT job seekers and get information that can help with your job search – all without interrupting your busy summer schedule to come to campus! We invite you to participate fully in the Club; do the assignments, comment on the blog postings, and ask questions of our career experts; we’re all here for your career success. 
We’re going to start this series with a discussion on personal branding, and its importance in your job search. Before you put together your marketing tools – resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile – you should do some self-assessment, to determine what sets you apart from the competition. This then becomes the basis of your personal brand – what you’ll be using to sell yourself to prospective employers, as companies use brands to sell their products (think of Nike and Coke). 
To help determine your personal brand, consider the following: • What are your core strengths and areas of expertise? In what areas do you excel? Examples could include performing analysis, leading others, identifying problems, managing conflict, communicating. • What have you accomplished; what are your notable achievements? What problems have you solved in previous experiences? • What is your value; what do you have to offer employers? Think of the adjectives you use to describe yourself, and think of how others would describe you. Examples: collaborative, flexible, forward-thinking, visionary, genuine, self-aware, creative, efficient. These are your brand attributes.• What are your weaknesses? Be cognizant of any weak points as you put together your brand. • Who is your target audience? Research your targeted industry and career field to determine where you will best fit, and what those companies most want and need in a candidate. You can then include appropriate key words in your branding statement. • What differentiates you from your competition? Why should employers choose you over other candidates? What value do you offer, and what can you offer that other candidates can’t? 
Once you’ve determined your personal brand, incorporate the elements above into a concise branding statement that gives a clear summary of your unique and desirable set of qualifications. This statement, and all elements of your personal brand, can now be incorporated into your marketing materials, giving people a consistent message about who you are and what you have to offer. Don’t forget to include your brand in your resume, cover letters, 60-second commercials, interviews, your LinkedIn profile, and when you network with colleagues. Take the time to determine what your brand is, and a branding statement that describes your brand, and you’ll be in a better position to marketing yourself – and your unique value – to your future employers! 
Tell us what you think – have you defined your brand, and developed a strong branding statement? Did going through the process of defining your brand help focus your career interests and help you see how you can better sell yourself? Is your brand clearly reflected in all your marketing materials? If not, start your self-assessment, and work on developing a branding statement that clearly identifies your unique attributes and value. 
Your homework for this week is to first, post below and introduce yourself to the group; tell us who you are, and what your career and job search goals are. Second, share your personal branding statement with the group if you’d like.