Roadmap to Job Search Success with LinkedIn

Guest blog by the LinkedIn Careers Team

 

Learn Something New with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is helping people discover and develop the skills they need through a personalized, data-driven learning experience.

Browse different Marketing jobs, descriptions, and even salary info

Have you spent hours, days, or even weeks scrolling through hundreds of job listings trying to identify the “perfect job title” that fits your interests? You’re not alone. One of the biggest challenges job seekers have is knowing what types of jobs to search for in their job search, or even which jobs exist (e.g: Sales Jobs).

Industry information updated by LinkedIn

LinkedIn heard you and as a result launched new career pages designed with the applicant in mind. Now, job seekers and students unfamiliar with the professional landscape can browse job titles within various job functions. LinkedIn surfaces popular titles and listings, as well as top cities and companies for a specific job (e.g., Human Resources jobs), making it easier for job seekers and exploring students to learn more about opportunities in various fields.

Now that you’ve found the right path, start diving in by learning new skills.

Discover and Develop New Skills Via LinkedIn Learning Video

Each week presents a new opportunity for you to learn the skills necessary to take on the next big challenge.

LinkedIn Learning wants to do everything possible to help make that happen.

That’s why each week more classes are added to the 10,000+ course library. LinkedIn’s goal is to help people discover and develop the skills they need through a personalized, data-driven learning experience.

Take Your New Skills to the Next Level and Achieve Your Goal!
You can identify which skills are key to achieving business goals, and learn those skills in a personalized, efficient way. Delve into paths that are available to you with your new skill set via the Linkedin career exploration pages. There you can discover jobs by function, with job titles you didn’t even know existed, and relevant salary information.

4 open-ended interview questions and what employers really want to know

Applicant and recruitment procedure

A job interview is your first and only opportunity to make a positive face-to-face impression. So, it’s important that you’re prepared to answer whatever questions come your way.

However, not all questions are going to have simple yes or no answers or require you to rattle off your work experience and skills. Employers may simply want to gauge your ability to think critically or assess how you’ll fit into the company culture.

You might be wondering: Where do I begin to answer the question? How much detail is too much detail and what are employers looking for in my answers?

So, here are 4 commonly-asked, interview questions and what employers really want to know:

  1. What can you tell me about yourself? Employers typically ask this question so they can learn about your previous work experience and gauge your skills. Kathryn Minshew, a writer for The Muse.com, a website that offers career advice to job seekers, suggests that to answer this question, job candidates should use the Present-Past-Future Formula.

This formula prompts job candidates to guide their answer by talking about present and past job positions they’ve held, the skills they acquired through their past positions and how their experiences and skills pertain to the position they’re applying for.

2. What is your greatest weakness? It may seem counterintuitive to go into a job interview and explain in detail your greatest weakness to a potential employer. However, it’s important to realize that they’ll simply want to ensure you’re aware of your weaknesses and have taken steps to improve.

So to answer this question, you might want to share an anecdote about a time one of your weaknesses e.g. an inability to delegate tasks, threatened your work efficiency and explain how you overcame that challenge e.g. by learning to delegate tasks.

Monster.com says that when choosing a weakness to discuss, make sure it’s not directly related to the job you’re applying for e.g. if the job required you to keep track of and file documents, it would be unwise to mention that you have a problem with organization.

Instead, mention that you tend to take on more work than you can handle. So essentially, don’t place doubt in your employers mind that you are unable to handle critical components of the job.

3. What is your greatest strength? When asking this question, employers typically want to confirm that you have the credentials listed on your resumé. So, don’t be vague when giving your answer.

Detail concrete examples of situations where you exhibited a strength in order to complete a task e.g. being detail-oriented helped you to identify a mistake in a client logo that no one else had noticed and was due to be printed on 100+ shirts.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years? According to Dayvon Goddard from LinkedIn, employers want to know that their potential investment in you is going to be a valuable one. Do not place doubt in their minds by suggesting that your potential investment in them is not a long-term one.

Instead, suggest that you are interested in growing with the company and that the position is pertinent to your long-term career goals.

Begin preparing answers to these questions now so you’re not thrown off guard during a job interview. Make sure that you’re confident in your answers so that a potential employer is confident in your abilities.

Need some practice?

The USF Career Success Center conducts mock interviews.

Visit Tower Hall N204

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Adams, S. (6 February, 2014). 4 ways to use facebook to find a job. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/02/06/4-ways-to-use-facebook-to-find-a-job/#16480f0f1fab

Doyle, A. (18 January 2017). Best way to answer interview questions about your weaknesses. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-your-greatest-weakness-2061288

Goddard, D. (15 July 2014). Where do you see YOURSELF in 5 years? (how to answer). Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140715181346-135125319-where-do-you-see-yourself-in-5-years-how-to-answer

Martin, C. (2017). List of strength & weaknesses: What to say in your interview. Retrieved from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/greatest-strengths-and-weaknesses

Minshew, K. (2017). A simple formula for answering “tell me about yourself”.. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-simple-formula-for-answering-tell-me-about-yourself

 

The cover letter: the hidden gem to landing an interview

Rejected Resumes

In most cases, employers won’t look at a job applicant’s resume until they’ve read their cover letter, and if the letter doesn’t convince the hiring manager and/or executive director that you’re the right person for the job, your resume will most likely be thrown in the trash.

What exactly is a cover letter, you ask? Simply, it is a letter that is addressed to the hiring manager and/or executive director of a company and explains an applicant’s qualifications for the job.

It allows the applicant to go into more depth regarding their skills and qualifications than their resume allows, although, like a resume, it too should be short.

The most important element to writing a cover letter is directly addressing the needs of the company and position to which you’re applying.

The hiring manager or executive director will want to ensure that an applicant has a basic understanding of the company’s mission and needs.

For example, the Illinois Spina Bifida Association (ISBA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that “works to improve the quality of life of individuals and families living with Spina Bifida [a spinal cord disorder]”.

So, the applicant would need to understand how the organization is currently achieving their mission e.g. ISBA provides in-home social work services; sleepaway camp for individuals with Spina Bifida looking to become more independent and provides youth and adult support groups.

The opening paragraph of a cover letter should address who you are, what position you’re applying for and how you came to hear about the job listing. Did you see a newspaper ad about it? If a respected employee of the company or organization told you about the position, make sure to include that information.

As a precursor to the following paragraph, where you’ll be explaining your qualifications in detail, write an opening of 1-2 sentences that summarizes why you believe your qualifications make you the right person for the job. For example:

“As a recent graduate of University of St. Francis where I studied Communications with a concentration in PR/Advertising and Journalism, I believe I have a deep understanding of how to target messaging and branding towards specific audiences. It is my hope that my educational background combined with five years of experience working for ABC Advertising Firm, as a project manager, will prompt you to consider me for the position of Marketing Research Analyst.”

The body paragraphs are where you’ll want to elaborate on the specific qualifications you have that are applicable to the position you’re applying for. For example, if the job posting specifies that the company is looking for someone who can, “improve quality results by studying, evaluating, and re-designing processes; implementing changes”; then, you may want to mention any experience you’ve had as a project manager. For example:

“At ABC Advertising, I was tasked with leading a team of graphic designers to create a logo for a sports recreation facility. It was during this time that I came to learn the importance of evaluating progress not only within the context of the finished product but in the ability of the team to work together. My considerations have helped me better manage my creative teams and increased overall workplace efficiency.”

The closing paragraph of your cover letter should reiterate why you’re qualified for the position, and as a personal touch, why you think the company is the right fit for you. Make it clear that you’re interested in interviewing for the position and that you’ll be in touch.

Sign your name, include your contact information and check for any grammar or spelling mistakes and you’re good to go!

Visit the USF Career Success Center for cover letter writing assistance

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. 4:30 p.m.

References:

Doyle, A. (18 June 2017). How to write a successful cover letter. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-write-a-cover-letter-2060169

Two roads diverge….which one are you going to take?

Taking decisions for the future

One question you’ll be asked over and over again as you begin applying to colleges is, “So, what’s your major?”

Over time, this question can become annoying, especially if you’re like the other 20-50% of incoming freshman that are undecided, according to author Virginia Gordon in her 1995 book, The Undecided College Student an Academic and Career Advising Challenge. If you’re feeling this way, the truth is, there is no magic formula that will help you decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.

In fact, according to a study conducted by CareerBuilder.com, over 20% of college graduates were employed in a job that had nothing to do with their major. See? Even people that thought they had it all figured out through college changed their minds once they’d graduated.

Despite this, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take steps to forge a path towards your future. As Robert Frost once said, “the only way forward is through”.

According to Bradford Holmes, of the U.S. News & World Report, declaring a major may make you eligible for greater financial benefit going into college such as, “department-specific scholarships, special freshman housing [etc.]”.

If you have some interest in a specific major but are still undecided this is another situation where it may be beneficial to declare because, depending on the program, some classes may only be offered once per year.

There are a couple of different options you could consider to help you decide your career trajectory:

  • Attend a community college for the first two years: Along with the requirements for your major, you’ll also have to complete general education courses. If your major is undecided then it may benefit you to attend community college until those credits are completed.

 

  • See what interests you and audit classes: The only way to see what majors are out there is to explore. SUNY Plattsburgh advises undecided freshman to narrow down the field by considering their interests and how those interests correspond to a college major before enrolling in an introductory course.

Or consider these questions:

  • What is your favorite subject? Why?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • What do you see as your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
  • What environment do you see yourself working in?
  • What resources are available at school to help you consider your options?

 

The USF Career Success Center can provide you with resources that will aid your decision.

 USF Career Success Center Tower N204
8:00a.m. – 4:30p.m.

References:

CareerBuilder study as qtd. in O’Shaughnessy. (15 November 2013). New study shows careers and college majors often don’t match. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-study-shows-careers-and-college-majors-often-dont-match/

Gordon qtd. in Freedman, Liz. (28 June 2013). The developmental disconnect in choosing a major: Why institutions should prohibit choice until second year. Retrieved from https://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/06/disconnect-choosing-major/

Holmes, B. (7 March 2016). Pros, cons of applying to college as an undecided major. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/articles/2016-03-07/pros-cons-of-applying-to-college-as-an-undecided-major

SUNY Plattsburgh. (12 July 2017). Common misconceptions and advice for undeclared students. Retrieved from http://web.plattsburgh.edu/academics/advising/undeclaredadvice.php

Can I have a moment of your time?

Businesspeople in the office

At some point in your professional life you’ll have to give an elevator speech. Elevator speeches are roughly 30 seconds long and explain to a potential employer why you’re the right person for the job. The speech is essentially your personal mission statement.

While employers want to make sure you are properly qualified for the position, they do not have the time to listen to a detailed and drawn out description of your job background.

So, it is important that your message is clear and concise. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Define the purpose of your elevator speech: Obviously, the main purpose of an elevator speech is always to land the job. However, in order to do that, you must know what the job requires and how your qualifications and career goals fit the job description.

2. Briefly explain your current job position and previous industry-related work experience and success:

This helps to show that you have drawn comparisons between previous skills that industry-related work has required of you and how those skills relate to the position you’re applying for. It also confirms to a hiring manager that you have the necessary amount of experience for the position.

3Keep your audience in mind: Choose every word carefully. Stay away from industry-jargon that would confuse anyone, even a company CEO. Also remember, that the most important thing piece of information an employer wants to know about you is how you can benefit their company.

4. Practice: While you are trying to initiate a genuine dialogue with a potential employer you’re still essentially making a sales speech. You want to exude confidence and ensure at the end of the speech a potential employer has learned everything that you want them to know about you.

 

Remember, the elevator speech is a window that can open to a more in-depth conversation regarding your job strengths and weaknesses. So, simplify now and elaborate later.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Collamer, N. (4 February 2013). The perfect elevator pitch to land a job. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/02/04/the-perfect-elevator-pitch-to-land-a-job/#4073e3e01b1d

Doyle, A. (13 April 2017). Elevator speech examples and writing tips. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/elevator-speech-examples-and-writing-tips-2061976

New and Improved USF Career Success Center Web Pages

Check out the recently updated USF Career Success Center webpages. It’s a one-stop spot for alumni, current students and employers. USF Career Success Center staff assists students with their employment needs. We are devoted to helping students and alumnus research career options. In doing so, we focus on the individual needs, goals, and values of each student. The Career Success Center believes in personal and professional development therefore assistance with job search, resume and cover letter writing, along with career counseling are among the services available.