5 Tips for Fighting Summer Job Search Blues

Phew! Another hot day in Kansas City – when will this heat wave end? It's exhausting, boring, and keeps me from doing the outdoor activities that I enjoy in the summer, like going to Starlight Theatre in the park.Summer fun

Perhaps you're feeling the same way right now about your job search? Depending upon how long you've been looking for that next opportunity, you could be approaching burnout similar to what an employee feels when he's overworked and under-appreciated. But now is not the time to give up! Instead, challenge yourself to stay motivated by using new and different ways to conduct your search. In other words, make it fun!

Here are five tips to help:

1) Got a buddy? Job search can be a lonely, thankless activity. If you can share it with a buddy, you'll find the process less tedious. Schedule a regular weekly time to connect with your friend. Listen and encourage him as he recounts his successes or drags his feet on completing his self-made commitments. You'll find that when he returns this favor for you, you'll perk up and feel renewed in your own commitment. Maybe a few email check-ins between you during the week can further your progress.

2) Got a smartphone? Add your job search activities to your I-phone. Besides accessing your email, you can do your online networking with the device. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook – all have download-able apps for your phone. Now you can join your friends at the beach, go on a hike, or take your kids to the zoo. Stay in touch with the online piece of your job search while not missing out on all the summer fun!

3) Got a clear career goal? After awhile, job goals can get fuzzy. When discouraged, you may begin to doubt your own intentions. Stop it! Just because you're not landing on your feet as quickly as you'd anticipated or planned, it doesn't mean that you were wrong in choosing your original goal. It does take longer these days to get a new job. Circumstances abound as to why. Maybe it's you, but more likely, it's the tough bottom-line mentality that companies adhere to due to the economic climate that we all live in. Do a little soul searching to confirm your reasons for choosing this goal. Chances are you will still come up with the same thing. 

4) Got a job search plan? I know, it doesn't sound too sexy, but it's mandatory for tracking all your job search activities. Be thorough in recording the who, what, when, and where of networking contacts, job interviews and job inquiries. Then you'll be able to know when it's OK to check back with someone without becoming a pest. Maybe this is not as easy to make fun as other ideas, but consider it critical to staying on course with your job search process. Try to turn it into a game.

5) Got a career coach? Besides being a professional cheerleader for you, a coach will gently push you 009 forward to meet your goals in a timely fashion. She serves as your careers resource, your brainstorming partner, your co-designer of job search action steps – always there to support you, give you insight, and help you stay accountable to yourself for doing what you say you want to do. Your career coach works with you to paint a vision of what you can become and accomplish. She will always be on YOUR side, no matter how the world tries to treat you. And, a career coach shares your pain, your tears, and your laughs. She really cares!

Now, get up off that couch, turn off the television, and find that job search buddy! Get your job search organized with a clear goal, an action plan, and a way to track your progress. Finally, hire a career coach! Make this process easier for YOU so you can become successful and find the next best thing for your career.

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg

SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of careers experts who each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Please follow our hash-tag on Twitter – #careercollective – as well as follow each expert's individual tweet on this month's topic of "Mid-Year Job-Search Checkup." You'll be amazed at all the free career advice and knowledge that is available to you from these professionals in the careers field!

4 Summer Strategies to Step Up Your Job Search, @DebraWheatman, #CareerCollective

Putting Your Job Search Up On The Rack For Inspection, @dawnrasmussen, #CareerCollective

Mid-Year Job Search Checkup: Are you wasting your time? @GayleHoward, #CareerCollective

What is your unique value proposition? @keppie_careers, #CareerCollective

It is Time for Your Check-up Ms/Mr Jobseeker, @careersherpa, #CareerCollective

Mid-Year Career Checkup: Are You "On Your Game?" @KatCareerGal, #CareerCollective

How to Perform a Mid-Year Job Search Checkup, @heatherhuhman, #CareerCollective

Reposition your job search for success, @LaurieBerenson, #CareerCollective

Mid-Year Job Search Checkup: What's working and What's not? @erinkennedycprw, #CareerCollective

Mid-Year Job Search Check-Up: Getting Un-Stuck, @JobHuntOrg, #CareerCollective

Mid-Year Check Up: The Full 360, @WalterAkana, #CareerCollective

5 Tips for Fighting Summer Job Search Blues, @KCCareerCoach, #CareerCollective

Are you positive about your job search? @DawnBugni, #CareerCollective

Where Are The Jobs? @MartinBuckland, @EliteResumes, #CareerCollective

Mid-Year Job-Search Checkup: Get Your Juices Flowing, @ValueIntoWords, #CareerCollective

When Was Your Last Career & Job Search Check Up? @expatcoachmegan, #CareerCollective

Is Summer A Job Search Momentum Killer? @TimsStrategy, #CareerCollective

Is It Time for Your Resume Checkup? @barbarasafani, #CareerCollective

Sink or Swim in Social Media

>>Social media is instrumental in changing lives around the world. Country revolutions have been organized using Twitter, birthday parties are overrun with guests who see an invitation someone forgot to make private on Facebook, and yes, even jobs are being landed through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. While Gen X and Gen Y (and even younger) persons have smartphones attached to their bodies like a new appendage, Baby Boomers and others are asking, "What's all the hoopla about?"

>>We've entered a new age: no longer the age of Aquarius, now the age of "being found." In other words, in order to connect with anyone for almost any purpose, you need to have an online or Internet presence. This is particularly true for job seekers who just want a new job. When a recruiter or hiring authority has a job to fill, they first go to the Internet to look for viable candidates. Recruiters notoriously go to LinkedIn, human resource personnel will do a Google search, even Craig's list is being used as a candidate source.

>>What's interesting is how Twitter has taken off as a place to find candidates. My belief is that hiring authorities, in all their wisdom, want to get to know the "real" person before scheduling a job interview. So, they read a candidate's tweets which often reveal personal information that cannot be asked in a formal job interview. Scary, huh? (If you don't know what digital dirt is, Google the term and learn how to clean up yours if you are in a job search.)
>>Twitter encourages you to join special groups for online chats, find new people to follow with your interests, create lists of these people organized by categories for easy access to their tweets, share digital photos of whomever or whatever you wish, and much more.
>>LinkedIn and Twitter are my social media tools of choice when it comes to job search. LinkedIn is a very professional program where you post your profile including employment history. This service may be utilized for no cost. To "get found" there by hiring authorities, you'll want to join a few relevant discussion groups where you ask and answer questions related to your field of work – spotlight your expertise. Also, take advantage of the "answers" feature which everyone can see, not just your official connections. Books have been written about using LinkedIn. One of my favorites is: I'm on LinkedIn – Now What? by Jason Alba.
>>Twitter is more informal than LinkedIn. You set up your account with a brief public profile, and now you're ready to share all kinds of information with anyone who will follow you. If you want to use Twitter while in a job search, be sure your tweets are on the professional side, not too opinionated, and never, ever full of inappropriate language or photos (just ask Rep. Weiner about that!). Make sure you choose a branded approach to your tweets to enhance your reputation. Look for people to follow that will help you with their careerist expertise, company connections, and job search leads. Make sharing your goal – not always asking for help. Social media is somewhat of a passive activity, so remember that what goes around, will come around back to you. One of my favorite books on using Twitter is the Twitter Job Search Guide, by Susan Britton Whitcomb, et al.
>>So what's holding you back from getting on the social media bandwagon? Don't be afraid to jump on – you really need to get involved to enhance your job search activities. And don't forget to download your social media programs to your smartphone where you may access them at any time. Happy tweeting, and all that other stuff!

Wishing you career success in 2011!
Meg

SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of careers experts who each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Please follow our hash-tag on Twitter – #careercollective – as well as follow each expert's individual tweet on this month's topic of "Social media – how to use it in a job search, how to get started, do's and don'ts." You'll be amazed at all the free career advice and knowledge that is available to you from these professionals in the careers field.

Make Your Career More Social: Show Up and Engage, @WalterAkana

You 2.0: The Brave New World of Social Media and Online Job Searches, @dawnrasmussen

How to Get a New Job Using Social Media, @DebraWheatman

Social Media: Choosing, Using, and Confusing, @ErinKennedyCPRW

How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman

Updating: A Social Media Strategy For Job Search, @TimsStrategy

Your Career Needs Social Media – Get Started, @EliteResumes @MartinBuckland

We Get By With a Little Recs from Our Friends, @chandlee

Expat Careers & Social Media: Social Media is Potentially 6 Times more Influential than a CV or Resume, @expatcoachmegan

Social-Media Tools and Resources to Maximize Your Personalized Job Search, @KatCareerGal

Job Search and Social Media: A Collective Approach, @careersherpa

How Having Your Own Website Helps You, @keppie_careers

Social Media: So what's the point?, @DawnBugni

Tools that change your world, @WorkWithIllnes

HOW TO: Meet People IRL via LinkedIn, @AvidCareerist

Effective Web 2.0 Job Search: Top 5 Secrets, @resumeservice

Jumping Into the Social Media Sea @ValueIntoWords

Sink or Swim in Social Media, @KCCareerCoach

Social Media Primer for Job Seekers, @LaurieBerenson

How to Handle Five Common #Career Skeletons

We all have them – situations, that if openly discussed, may have a negative impact on our lives and/or careers.

Several years ago I was surprised by one myself. WillardjohnMy aunt had been tracing the family tree on my mother's side when she came across information about a distant relative who had been hanged over three centuries ago after being convicted of murder. Wow! Although this unearthed family factoid (we believe it was a truth, but not quite sure) did not directly affect my life, it made me stop in my tracks and ponder the question: what else did I not know about my family?

When it comes to a job search, it's more likely that a personal situation a lot closer to home will present a potential roadblock to getting your next job. Following is a list of five possible barriers that may pop up for job seekers, barriers requiring your tact and skill to address in a job interview – if you want a job offer. One recommendation is to hire a professional career coach to help you present yourself in the best manner possible. Please share your comments below, especially if you've experienced these or any other job-busting situations.

Common Career Skeletons

1. Bad Credit Report: It's a sad fact, but today's employers routinely ask your permission to pull your credit report before offering you a job. For anyone who was laid off several months ago, chances are your credit report has taken a few hits. Since you will usually be interviewed before your credit report is pulled, the best action to take is to bring up this problem in the interview. Don't be ashamed – you've been trying to survive! Just offer at the end of the interview a very brief synopsis of the truth of why your report has been dinged. Many employers will be understanding about this.

2. Termination from Previous Job: If this termination was from your last job, you will need to address it more purposefully than if it was from a job way back in your work history. Try to keep from mentioning the situation until you are interviewed as you can soften the situation better in a face-to-face encounter. Briefly sum up what happened, assume the blame yourself (don't blame your old boss), and be ready to discuss what you've learned that will keep this from ever happening again. Once more, don't blame your past employer!

3. Conflict with Previous Boss: If you and your last boss just didn't get along, be ready to weave a story about that relationship into your interview conversation. Address the problem, what actions you took to resolve it, and whatever positive results came from those actions. Don't leave the story hanging in the air – be sure to offer the resolution. Even if the question doesn't arise, it's better to gently discuss it as there's a good chance your old boss will be contacted for a "reference" whether you name him/her or not on your reference list.

4. Criminal Record: Now this is a serious situation, not insurmountable, but very challenging. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is your only option here. As with most barriers to employment, put the emphasis on what you've learned through this experience and how it will positively shape your behavior going forward into the future. There are career coaches who specialize in working with people facing this roadblock. It's probably a good idea to seek professional career advice to maximize your chances for getting a job.

5. Non-visible Disability: It's easy for an employer to see if you're blind, deaf, or in a wheelchair. Many employers consider these "low-risk" disabilities when it comes to hiring. They feel they can make the necessary accommodations to support persons with these disabilities in a competitive work environment. However, if you have an emotional or mental illness, beginning stages of Parkinson's disease, or have been recently diagnosed with cancer, no one may know about it but you. You always have the choice of whether or not to disclose your disability and you can weigh the advantages vs. disadvantages to you in doing so. But if you have, say, ADHD and need any employer accommodations to perform the essential functions of your position, it's best to disclose your disability before accepting a job offer – probably in the second interview. Disability disclosure is a hugely personal thing. I suggest working with a career coach who specializes in the area of disabilities, such as Rosalind Joffe of Working with Chronic Illness, to get the support you need to get the job of your choice.

Perfectjob_12 Landing a job is a huge job in itself in today's economy, even for those with no career skeletons. When you have special barriers, it can become a more daunting task. Just stay focused on your goal, adapt your job strategy to meet any special situations, and get help from a professional career coach. Employers hire self-confident candidates who can solve problems. Know your value and your strengths, and become an expert at demonstrating both. The rest will follow.

 

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg

Remembering Mom’s Green Mashed Potatoes

When I was a child, I always anticipated St. Patrick's Day with the wonder of what my Irish mother would do this year to help us celebrate. Sitting down to a hearty farm breakfast, I'd begin my day listening to the Irish folk songs she had playing on the radio. Of course, she sent us all to school wearing something green with a shamrock pinned to each of our collars.

The most fun of the day was at dinner when she'd serve green mashed potatoes. Just a drop of green food coloring made the dish festive. Of course, Dad, a third generation farmer of Dutch descent, would shake his head and ask, "Where's the meat?" Usually the serious parent, his sense of humor often lacked the spontaneity of Mom's, although he did surprise us on occasion.

Mom made each holiday special and memorable. Most were celebrated in traditional ways: Easter baskets fullMargery-1945   of eggs and candy, Santa Claus and the Christmas tree with lots of presents, and Independence Day with flags and stories about her WWII service in the U.S. Navy. One April Fool's Day she sewed the tableware to the tablecloth. I won't even repeat what Dad said about that!

So, you say, what do my mother's holiday celebrations have to do with careers or job search?

More than these happy childhood memories, these fun times will always remain precious as I recall what Mom did with her life for us and my father, the husband she dearly loved. Marrying at 28, she gave up her teaching career to become a farm housewife, making a commitment to a new way of life. Yes, she chose this new life, but it's important to acknowledge the many changes she had to make – from baking bread to tending chickens to growing fresh vegetables in a big garden.

I see her holiday celebrations as one of her ways of maintaining her personal identity and not letting herself become lost in this different culture. When Dad was struck down at the age of 51 with a series of strokes and heart attacks that caused permanent disability, Mom returned to her teaching career to keep the family going. Always adapting and changing, she taught me the importance of being flexible in my life and my work. She also taught me that a woman CAN do it all: have a career AND have a family.

Lessons are here for all job seekers and careerists:

  • Don't fear the unknown.
  • Keep your eyes open for opportunities that can enrich your life and give it meaning.
  • There is no good reason to stay year after year in a job you hate – get proactive!
  • Find that career that lets you work from your life's purpose.

Thanks, Mom, for the life and career lessons you taught me!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Meg 

How to Revitalize a Stale Job Search

Whether you've been in a job search for a week, a month, or a year, you probably feel like it's been forever. ForOverwhelm most, job searches are no fun – they are hard work! But more than the work, it's the overwhelm due to isolation coupled with periodic rejection that compels many job seekers to lose self-motivation to persevere. So, what  can you do to refocus and re-tool your job search? What can rekindle your energy to keep you moving forward to attain success?

The biggest energy boost of all comes from human contact, especially if it is coupled with acknowledgment, recognition, and support. This is why so many job clubs have been launched since the recession began with all its layoffs. Most job clubs cost you nothing to attend. Many are held in church basements or activity rooms and are led by caring community members who volunteer their time. Depending on a job club's purpose, you may get peer reviews of your resume, discussion with peers and local guest experts on how to hone your job interviewing skills, perhaps even a presentation on improving your social networking skills, and more. All of this career advice is great and you would be wise to pay attention. Of course, you will need to get it all organized, scheduled, and incorporated into your job search plan. (You do have a job search plan, don't you?) When you Google 'job club' you will get a large number of sites to explore.

If there's no job club close to you, then look for another person who also is in job search mode to become your buddy. Take on the role of each other's booster. Talk daily – or at least weekly – to share your goals, successes, and rejections. Learn from each other about what works and what doesn't. However, if you begin to notice your conversations turning into "pity parties," STOP – take the time to correct the situation or replace your "buddy."

While having a spouse or partner to share everything with may seem ideal, it really isn't. Of course, your significant other will want to know and help you the best they can, but remember, they have a vested interest in the outcome of everything you do in your job search. What will work better for you is a more impartial individual who will put your needs first. Many relationships can't survive the stress caused by a layoff. Please reserve your relationship time for sharing your "normal" life activities with your loved one.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the best option for getting the job search support you need – hiring your own career coach. As a trained and credentialed professional, this individual can help you keep your job search on track, will listen without judgment to everything you say, offer sound advice, and challenge you to stay focused on doing the job search activities critical for success – in other words, getting the right job offer! Sure, you will need to invest in this service, but you wouldn't go to court without a good attorney or build a swimming pool in your backyard without a reputable contractor – or would you? Career coaching services are an investment in your future. An experienced career coach can help you reduce your job search time. After all, what percentage of your first year's salary would some career coaching actually be?

So, here are some options for getting your job search rekindled. Do you have other ideas? I'd love to hear them in your comments – please share!

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg

 
Career-Collective-original-small SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of careers experts who each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Please follow our hash-tag on Twitter – #careercollective - as well as follow each expert's individual tweet on this month's topic of "How to Re-tool or Refocus Your Job Search." You'll be amazed at all the free career advice and knowledge that is available to you from these professionals in the careers field!

Personal Branding to Fire Up Your Job Search, @DebraWheatman

Succeeding in a “Final Jeopardy!” World, @WalterAkana

5 Steps to Retool & Jumpstart Your Job Search, @erinkennedycprw

Your Job Search: Let's Just Start Again Shall We? @GayleHoward

Checklist for Spring Cleaning Your Job Search, @careersherpa

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman

Ten Surefire Ways to Organize Your Job Search, @KatCareerGal

Put Spring Into Your Job Search, @EliteResumes @MartinBuckland

Toes in the Water, @ValueIntoWords

How to Revitalize a Stale Job Search, @KCCareerCoach

How to re-think your job search, @Keppie_Careers

Wake Up and Smell the Flowers: Spring Cleaning Your Resume, @barbarasafani

Spring Cleaning and Your Personal Brand, @resumeservice

Spring clean your mind clutter first, @DawnBugni

Managing Your Career 2.0: On Giving Something Up To Get It Right, @Chandlee

Clean up, Chin, up, Shape up, @LaurieBerenson

Career Strategy for Grads: What’s Your Plan B?

For many people, careers by default have guided their lives. What's this? "Having no plan or road map for what you want to do in your life." This process gets kick-started in college when you feel pressured into choosing your major. The pressure may come from parents, peers, or the college counselor – even from inside you. No matter where it comes from, you find yourself facing a decision that you may not be ready to make. So what do you do? You choose anything – just anything – so that you may finish your coursework and get on with your life. Sound familiar?

After graduation, more decisions need to be made. What kind of job can you get with your degree? OMG! The jobs in your field have gone away while you were studying. Now what? Either you move back home with your parents, or you bunk with friends also doing a job search while you all work in fast food restaurants, retail sales, or if you're lucky, entry level office jobs. What happened? Why isn't your life turning into the great experience you were promised in your teens? (Another option is to return to school – but do you really want more debt?)

"If only" becomes your cry – if only I'd given my career choice more thought; if only I'd researched career options before choosing my major; if only I'd paid more attention to what I really enjoy doing – who knows? I may not have even gone to college at all, but studied while working in some kind trade instead.

I remember in high school when my mother (a former high school teacher) advised me to take a semester of typing even though I planned on getting a bachelor's degree. Honestly, typing really didn't appeal to me, but like a good first child, I listened and followed her advice. Today I look back and realize how important that one semester of typing has been to my entire career. In my first full time job I used typing and have relied on my keyboard skills ever since to manage whatever tasks that my jobs dictated. For me, typing was my Plan B. Today it is my tool for facilitating all my other skills and talents.Plan B

What is your Plan B?

If your career isn't quite working out right now, do you have a backup plan to go to? Even it's just a part time job, it's important to have something to supplement your living expenses while you continue to pursue your dreams. Sometimes a Plan B is your current position while you work on defining and exploring a career change. After all, you have to eat, right? If you're not working at all, what can be your Plan B? Perhaps something as simple as selling your services for cleaning houses, walking dogs, building websites, or even acting as a companion for an elderly neighbor.

The ideal Plan B job will be a temporary, short lived thing. It needs to help you survive while you make the transition into your chosen career, a career where you achieve your goals and meet your working wants. And a Plan B doesn't have to be job itself, it can be a skill you utilize while holding down a job.

What's most important here is that you do have options. What do you choose for your first – or next – career? What kind of Plan B can you come up with to give you the time to get what you really want?

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg

How Blizzards, Dogs and Job Search Relate

Cal_and_Zeva My dogs are a lot of fun to watch on the ice and in the deep snow.

After the Kansas City blizzard last week, we had to "throw" them out the back door to get them to do their "business." Brrr! The icy cold wind hit them in the face, so unfamiliar to their senses.

The first time out, my 20-pound Zeva proceeded with her normal drill, wrapping up with the ritual of pawing the ground and then scooting her bottom. Yeow! She jumped up quickly and turned around to see what was that ice-cold thing she'd scooted on – certainly not dirt and leaves! The surprised look on her face was priceless.

Zeva's 17-pound brother, with the stand-up comedic ears, entertained us with his own show acting like a newborn calf trying to get up and walk for the first time. No matter what he did, Cal couldn't find his three-legged footing on the ice covered patio. His legs splayed in all directions! I could see his brain whirring – this whole thing was a lot more work than it was worth! But he persevered until he was successful, choosing to improvise and squat like his sister. I don't think dogs know how to give up.

As a job seeker, do you ever feel like my dogs – blindsided from the back and/or shaky on your feet? If you do have these feelings, do you forge ahead anyway – or do you give up? These feelings are all quite normal, as far as anything in a job search can be labeled normal. As much as you try to prepare for this new and uncertain landscape, you will get surprised many times along the way. Some experiences will teach you lessons that will help you to not repeat mistakes, while others will make you feel as if you have absolutely no control – and you don't!

For instance, job interviews are great training sites. With each interview, you'll gain more skills with the process. This is one example where practice does make perfect – or at least a lot better. Never say no to a job interview! In fact, going to an interview about which you are lukewarm will let you "practice" with little investment on the line.

But after the interview, you have no control over when the employer will make the hiring decision. That is so frustrating! Just hang in there and keep moving toward the next interview. Never quit the job search until you have accepted a real offer.

One more thing – if you're happily employed, don't be like my dogs and become so comfortable in your surroundings that you don't see the tumultuous blizzard right in front of you! Things do change. That's what this world is all about.

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg

Your Photo on LinkedIn – Breaking a Cardinal Job Search Rule?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? I certainly hope so since this is the first place recruiters go to find their ideal candidates. SilhouetteDo you have your photo on that LinkedIn profile? Again, I hope so – as today it is expected that you should. If you don't, get a professional pic up there now! What you don't have on LinkedIn says more about you than what you include.

But did you know that only three-plus years ago a big debate broke out over whether or not it was appropriate for LinkedIn to let its users have a photo anywhere close to their career qualifications?

Today most professional resumes still don't include photos, exceptions being professional bios in the entertainment and public speaking fields, maybe a high-level executive resume. This job search "rule" is due to the Human Resources concern over liability regarding interviewing a candidate based on appearance, race or age.

(Maybe it's time to change this rule, too? Please share your comments below.)

In doing research for this post, I found an interesting article, "A Photo Is Worth a Thousand Words" by Adam Nash on the LinkedIn blog. In this article the following announcement was made: "We’re excited to announce that starting tomorrow LinkedIn members will have a new option available: the ability to add a professional photo to their profile." (9/27/2007)

Business publications raced to cover this revolutionary change in how HR and recruiters might be swayed on whom they would choose to interview. In fact, Bloomberg BusinessWeek printed the following: "As recently as an August interview, LinkedIn's co-founder and president, Reid Hoffman, said 'photos and business don't go together,' partly because images could unduly influence recruiters. To lessen that threat, LinkedIn is letting HR reps turn off the feature so they can screen candidates without regard to age, race, and appearance."  (9/27/2007)  — Turn it off? Hmmm…. Does that ever happen?

ZNet conducted an informal survey asking the public if adding a photo was a good or bad idea. Results: 70% said it was good, 30% said bad.

The Wall Street Journal published an article about recruiters using social networking sites (e.g., LinkedIn and Facebook) to check job references on candidates before getting their permission, before even referring them to an interview with an employer. (I believe this topic warrants another post.) They went on to say, "LinkedIn, which already has a similar recommendation feature, plans to announce today that it will allow users to add photos to their profiles – a feature that could help make job seekers more recognizable to industry recruiters who may know them." (9/27/2007)

What a lot of hoopla! What do you think – can having your photo on LinkedIn enhance your chance for illegal discrimination? There was concern about this in 2007 – has that concern faded away in 2011? Or maybe everyone has just come to terms with the fact that there is no privacy anywhere since the Internet has become everyday SOP – notably where job search is concerned.

I would particularly like to hear from HR professionals and recruiters on this topic: How do LinkedIn photos on candidates' profiles affect your decision to conduct interviews? Pros and cons, please!

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg

Career-Collective-original-small

SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of careers experts who each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Please follow our hash-tag on Twitter – #careercollective - as well as follow each expert's individual tweet on this month's topic of "Job Hunting Rules to Break." You'll be amazed at all the free career advice and knowledge that is available to you from these professionals in the careers field!

Juice Up Your Job Search, @debrawheatman

It's not your age, it's old thinking, @GayleHoward

Want a Job? Ignore these outdated job search beliefs, @erinkennedycprw

Job Search Then and Now, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

Break the Rules or Change the Game?, @WalterAkana

The New: From The Employer's-Eye View, @ResumeService

Job Search: Breakable Rules and Outdated Beliefs, @KatCareerGal

Job Hunting Rules to Break (Or Why and How to Crowd Your Shadow), @chandlee @StartWire,

Shades of Gray, @DawnBugni

3 Rules That Are Worth Your Push-Back, @WorkWithIllness

Your Photo on LinkedIn – Breaking a Cardinal Job Search Rule?, @KCCareerCoach

How to find a job: stop competing and start excelling, @Keppie_Careers

Be You-Nique: Resume Writing Rules to Break, @ValueIntoWords

Modernizing Your Job Search, @LaurieBerenson

Don't Get Caught With an Old School Resume, @barbarasafani

How Breaking the Rules Will Help You in Your Job Search, @expatcoachmegan

Beat the Job-Search-Is-a-Numbers-Game Myth, @JobHuntOrg

25 Habits to Break if You Want a Job, @CareerSherpa

What’s Wrong with the Spouses of #Jobseekers? (My Saturday Rant)

Several unemployed individuals have recently reached out to me seeking information on my services. For various reasons, they wish to discover what kind of career would really make their lives richer. They need assistance to make a transition back to the workplace. Theirs is a real cry for help! But their spouses just aren't listening. Maybe it's time for couples to go back in time to what they signed on for when they got married.Marriage

One has chosen to stay at home with a disabled child for the past three years while his wife earned a paycheck in a field she enjoys – making enough money to let the family survive, but not thrive. She now wants her partner to get a job – no matter how menial – to help out with expenses, but she does not support his investing in professional career-related services, such as a career coach, to help him return to the job market in a professional fashion. (The family has finally qualified for the assistance of an aide for the disabled son so the man is able work outside the home between 9 AM and 3 PM.) He misses his profession and would like to find a way to get back into it.

Another caller is facing an "empty nest" as her youngest goes off to college. She would love to get back into the field she enjoyed before choosing so many years ago to stay home to raise her family. However, the world of work has changed so much that her self-esteem is weak and she is afraid that her skills are stale. She really needs a career coach to help her evaluate career options and get her "mojo" back. However, her husband sees no need for this. He's happy with his career, so her needs don't appear all that important. After all, he has the financial bases covered and doesn't see a real reason for her to go back to work.

There are more stories from those wanting career coaching, but unable to afford it unless their working spouses loosen the family purse strings. What's up with these spouses? Do they feel threatened by loss of control of the family money if their partners go back to careers they enjoy? Are they acting selfishly in not approving the expenditure of career coaching? Or is it a real financial barrier if their partners to seek professional help?

And then there's the laid off professional who chose to start his own business instead of returning to Corporate America. He was the major wage earner in the family with his wife working part time dabbling in a "fun" career. Since he controlled the money, he was able to hire me as his career coach to help him. But, by the time he found me, he defined his career need as how to "get back into the rat race." His partner had declared that she'd had enough of his business failures and she wanted him to get a real job, just any #$%& job, so the family could maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to. Needless to say, this career coaching client's heart wasn't truly into the job search process. But he declared that keeping the family peace was most important to him.

I wish all couples would revisit their marriage vows when faced with career and job challenges presented by their partners. "For better or worse" is a phrase that appears to be forgotten. Everyone needs to find a way to work together for the benefit of both partners, but more importantly, for the benefit of the family. Career change isn't easy, but even more challengin when a spouse or partner protests the other's need for help.

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg

Over 50 and Intimidated By a Job Search?

Finding a job over 50 is an "individual" process, not a group one. If you are a job-seeking boomer, quit paying attention to all the surveys and statistics! Instead, focus on your attitude, put a smile on your face, and build those critical business relationships. Sure, polishing your appearance can help with your face-to-face encounters, e.g., a professional hair style, fashionable clothes, weight loss, etc. And projecting your self-confidence with technology is important. But otherwise, it's still about the unique value you have in order to solve a potential employer's problems – what employers seek from every job candidate regardless of age.

After reading "4 Ways to Stay Employed After Age 50" (US News & World Report, 1-13-11), I once again felt annoyed by all the statistics. When job seekers' lives are boiled down into numbers, hope drains from the collective psyche of boomer readers everywhere. I see here another reason to turn off the tube and dial back the volume of media. Statistics are only numbers – numbers that include EVERYONE in a certain class, not reflective of individuals.

Each person is unique in who they are and what they offer to a potential employer. Become an expert at selling your potential as well as your experience. Research business trends and get comfortable discussing them in terms of your career target. Know that we exist in a rapidly changing world and embrace that fact! The over 50 job seekers who refuse to change, insisting that their way is always the right way, will NOT get where they want to go. They will be labeled as dinosaurs as they live up to their stereotype.

Age advantage book A great resource to help you, the boomer job seeker, is a book by Jean Erickson Walker, The Age Advantage: Making the Most of Your Mid-life Career Transition. Buy it or get it from your library. This is a must-read to help you clearly see all your options for finding a job, the right job for you.

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg