If you do this on your LinkedIn profile your boss may know you are unhappy

As long as you are either unemployed or do not care if your boss knows that you are looking for a new job, I always recommend to career counseling clients to include “Open to New Opportunities” in the “Headline” that appears after their name on their LinkedIn profiles. It’s a good way to advertise. Granted, you will be inundated with pitches from resume writers, career counselors and recruiters, but that’s the price you have to pay.

This article is not about “Open to New Opportunities.” That’s a conscious decision on the individual’s part to advertise the fact, if they are employed, that they want out. What this article is about is the unconscious decision people make when writing their profiles which lets their boss and the world know that they may not be happy with their job or career.

While working on a project for a LinkedIn marketing client, I began to notice an interesting trend. People list their job as one thing and their “Industry” as something totally different.

With the new user interface on LinkedIn, sadly, you can no longer see a person’s “Industry” when viewing their profile. “Industry” is now only a filter when doing a search.

There are people who get confused. For example, they may be an accountant at a marketing agency. They put “Marketing and Advertising” as their “Industry” because that is the industry of their employer. But a LinkedIn profile is personal. The question is not which “Industry” your employer is in, but rather which “Industry” you are in. So, in this hypothetical case, the individual should have listed their “Industry” as “Accounting.”

But I have found people who list their job as one thing and their “Industry” as something completely different – and unrelated to their employer’s industrial sector. For example, a fashion model listing her profession as “Law Practice.” Then there is the “Sales Associate,” working for a luxury retailer who lists his “Industry” as “Financial Services,” as do a “Skin Care Consultant” and a “Personal Chef.”

If you do not identify with your true “Industry,” that can be an indication that it might be time for a change. If your boss sees it, she will definitely know, or think she knows, that you will not be with her for long.

Bottom line, impression is reality. You do not want to give the impression that you are not happy with your job and wish you were in another line of work…unless, of course, you do!

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

The Job Seeker’s Plight: Hard Work and Nothing to Show for it!

December is always a bad month for recruiters. As bad as the first two weeks are, the last two are even worse. If the phone rings, it’s a holiday miracle! (The only thing comparable is Thanksgiving week.)

Four years ago things were worse than ever. I literally had nothing to do. Then I was staring at my file cabinets and realized that I had documents dating back 10 plus years, that I did not need. And those that I might have a need for, I could scan.

So I pulled out file folders, removed staples, and started shredding. And I continued to shred. And when the shredder overheated, I took a break. And then I resumed shredding. And at the end of the three-four days it took to complete the project, I had thrown out some 25 13-gallon garbage bags full of no longer needed documents.

Then I looked around the office and saw no change. I knew what I had done. I knew it was a smart thing to do. Every December, I still do the same thing: shred or scan and shred. But the result is always the same: I know what I have done but I can’t see any results. That is, unless I open the drawers, which are now nearly empty.

***

A new career counseling client came to me very frustrated. He had been looking for a job for close to a year. He showed me an Excel spreadsheet which confirmed he had sent out over a thousand applications. In a good month he had one interview. There were few good months. Bottom line, he had done a lot of work but had nothing to show for it! Or at least so he thought.

That got me thinking about my filing cabinets. The only way I knew I had done anything was to open the drawers. So, after I told him the story so he would understand what I was talking about, I said, “Let’s open your drawers.” Then, realizing what I had said, I blushed and when he stopped laughing, I said, “Let me rephrase that!”

Well, I didn’t have to.

The reason, no surprise, that he was not getting any interviews was that the only thing worse than his cover letter and resume were his networking skills. (He actually was not a bad interviewee except for the fact that he never sent thank-you emails…) But that did not mean he had not accomplished anything during his year of unemployment. The problem was, given that his only goal was to get a job, and he hadn’t, he could not see his actually accomplishments.

First, he had had a career that enabled him to maintain his standard of living for a year without any salary.

Second, during that year he had improved himself, keeping up to date with his profession and learning new skills. (Three cheers for the Internet!)

Third, he had helped a number of non-profits. (“But that’s just volunteer stuff, not work!”)

I won’t insult your intelligence by saying how I changed his resume and cover letter, or to tell you the results.

The moral of the story is this: Just because you can’t see your accomplishments doesn’t mean they are not there. All you have to do is look for them. And when you find them, you may also find your self-confidence which, in case you don’t know it, is a prerequisite for getting a job offer.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 330,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he co-chairs their Entrepreneurship Council, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

The ONLY Job Search Software You Need, PERIOD!

There are plenty of job search sites that promise you quick results. And there are those that promise that they have found the algorithm that will get you your dream job.

I can remember once, when I was home sick with the cold to end all colds, not in any shape to seriously concentrate on anything of value, that I signed up for a webinar on keywords. Laughter, so they say, is the best medicine, and I did feel better after watching the show. It featured a software package which, when you enter in your profession, all the keywords related to that profession appeared in order of importance. Pay the money, get the list, add the keywords, get the interview. And people probably fell for it.

To continue with that example, no mention was given about how to deal with the keywords in an actual interview. You wrote on your resume that you know XYZ. Tell us about your experience. What are you going to say, “I paid for access to an on-line service that said I should include that keyword on my resume, so I did. But I really don’t even know what it means. Is that a problem?”

But the good news is that there is a program you can use that is free. If used properly, it will guide you down the correct path to your next job. It will help you differentiate between the con artists and the knowledgeable professionals who can actually help you. It is so advanced that it cannot be hacked. It never runs out of space. It is constantly being updated.

So sign up for the service. Use it. Trust it. Rely upon it. It is the only endorsement I will make. And here it is.

The human brain.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 330,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

How to Reenter the Job Market

If President-elect Trump honors his commitments to repeal Obamacare and the tens of thousands of regulations passed by President Obama (at an annual cost of billions for businesses) the result should be the creation of a massive number of new jobs. Of course, this will not happen until Mr. Trump takes office and, even then, it will take time.

The sign that people believe him will be an increase in the civilian labor force participation rate which, as everyone now knows, is a far more important statistic than the unemployment rate, and which has not been this low since 1977/78. In other words, people who gave up looking for work will want to, once again, find employment. They will become confident that the economy is finally going to turn around.

The downside is that this means a lot of competition. Accordingly, if you are one of these individuals, here are some steps you should take now to get a leg up on your fellow job seekers.

Obtain what you lack

The most important thing you can do is get what you need. How do you know what you need? Look at job postings for positions in which you are interested. Note the qualifications. If most jobs require something you do not have, get it! Obviously you cannot get a college degree in three months, but you can learn new skills and become current in your profession. There are legitimate on-line courses available including: www.coursera.org, www.edx.org and www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses. Get educated! And if you need a specific certification, find a trade school. It does not matter if they are accredited. You need an education, not a piece of paper to hang on the wall.

Get noticed

Start writing posts on LinkedIn. The fact that you are reading this proves my point. But also utilize such services as Help a Reporter Out and BlogTalkRadio to build your brand. Put differently, what you are trying to do is to get recognized for your expertise so employers will come after you. If you happen to be in New York City on Wednesday, November 30, you can attend my talk on Building a Brand to Attract Employers at the Science, Industry and Business Library. Failing that, you can watch a video of a previous presentation I made on the same topic. It’s only slightly dated. If you follow my advice, with a little luck, not only will employers notice you, but you will be able to include “Media Citations” on your resume, as proof of your being a “recognized expert” in your field.

Prepare an employer-focused resume

Start working on a new resume. It’s not difficult to fill the unemployment gap which I am certain is of concern to you. Under “Work Experience” create a subsection, “Employment-Related Activities.” Include any courses you have taken, short-term work you undertook and, perhaps most importantly, your volunteer activities. You want to show that you have not been idle, that you are not the type of person who can sit around all day and watch television.

Most importantly, don’t start your resume with a professional summary where you engage in self-praise. No employer cares what you think about yourself. Employers want to be reassured that you can meet their needs, that you can solve their problems. Simply begin with a section titled “Selected Accomplishments.” List half a dozen bullet points highlighting relatively recent career successes. That’s what employers care about.

Network

Resume networking. Reach out to old friends and colleagues, even if you have lost touch. You have nothing about which to be embarrassed. Let everyone know that you are back on the job market. While the hope is that there will be plenty of jobs advertised, the competition for them will be great. As always, the simple truth is that the best jobs, and the majority of jobs, are not and will not be advertised. You will only find out about them through networking.

Don’t fall for scams

Once the job market picks up, those persons claiming to be job search experts will start coming out of the woodwork. Don’t fall for them! There are no shortcuts and if something sounds questionable, it probably is. If they tell you that they can get you on the television networks, make certain they are not talking about a mention in a silly press release that is picked up by the network affiliates and placed on their websites. You will be making a fool of yourself. The same is true if you engage the services of someone who tells you to eliminate the gap in your resume by creating a group on LinkedIn and presenting yourself as a “Founder.” You’ll just look silly.

Similarly, be cautious of so-called “professional resume writers.” Don’t pay for a fancy resume written by someone who simply fills in a template. Ask to see three examples of their resumes. If they begin with self-praise, don’t waste your money. Similarly, there is absolutely no need to hire someone to create your LinkedIn profile. Just cut and paste your resume. You don’t want any discrepancies between the two. And, of course, if you have it, add multimedia files. In any case, keep in mind how recruiters actually use LinkedIn.

Watch out for career counselors

If you feel the need for outside assistance, shop around. First, only hire a career counselor who has actually hired people. You don’t want an academic; you want a practitioner! In other words, you want someone who has “been there and done that,” not someone who has just read about it. Second, request a 15-minute free consultation. Take five minutes to explain to them your situation and then let them talk for the remaining 10. If everything they say is boilerplate, move on! If they have nothing negative to say, no real criticism, move on! Most importantly, do not pay an hourly rate. Only pay a flat fee and the service should continue, ideally, until you get your next job. Someone who charges an hourly rate is looking for a long-term relationship with you so that they can milk you for as much money as they can. You don’t want a relationship, you want a job! And since I just happen to be a career counselor myself I can say with complete authority, we are very boring people! You can find far more interesting souls with whom to have a relationship.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 300,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

Confidentiality and Your Job Search

“Looking for new opportunities.” That is what I tell attendees at my speaking events and my career counseling clients to write, front and center, right after their names, on their LinkedIn profiles so that the world will know that they are looking for a new job. Of course, there is always one exception: You don’t do that if you don’t want your current employer to know that you are looking!

Seems pretty obvious but one person just called me, desperate for help, panicking, because she was just fired by her boss. She had seen her LinkedIn profile, saw the “Looking for…” statement, and found a replacement.

We all make mistakes, but there are “mistakes” and there are “mistakes” and this definitely falls under the heading of a “mistake.”

What makes this ironic is that this morning I decided to go for a walk. It was chilly, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I thought it would be refreshing. I did not know it would also be entertaining.

As I was walking I heard a commotion. Being a nice Jewish boy I will not repeat verbatim what the wife was (justifiably) saying to her husband, but suffice it to say I will never understand why people do not delete the call logs, voice mail messages, and text messages from their phones especially if they are of a “sensitive” nature. Hubby got caught.

In my book there is no excuse for cheating. Period. End of sentence. So hubby will get what he deserves (hopefully within the bounds of federal and state law…). But looking for a new employer is, of course, totally different than looking for a new life partner (in place of or in addition to the one you currently have). It is not immoral. It is not indecent. It is, in fact, quite common. You just don’t want to broadcast it.

I don’t know which is more accurate: Is conducting a confidential job search a “zero sum game” or “Catch 22?” In the first place, the more people who know about your search the less confidentiality you have. But the fewer people who know about your job search, the less effectiveness you have. In the second place, if you don’t tell people about your search they can’t help you, but if you tell people about your search eventually your boss may find out about it. I guess they are both equally accurate.

So now comes the big question: How do you conduct a confidential job search when you are employed and can’t afford for your boss to find out? The word is “discreet.”

If you are looking to change careers, in other words, to enter a new industry, your problem may not be that serious. After all, you are not going to be networking with people who are likely to know your boss. And if, by chance, she finds out about it, all you have to say that you are interested in the industry, find it fascinating, and want to learn more about it. Of course, if she says she knows you are handing out resumes, then my advice is to come clean. Maybe an honest conversation will result in your finding a solution, if possible, to the reason(s) why you are looking for a new career. In any case, adding “liar” to “disloyal” is never a good idea.

Of course when looking for a new job in the same industry, the odds are better (or worse depending on your point of view) that the boss will hear about it. The answer, again, is to always be discreet and make certain that when you are letting it be known that you are looking for a new job that you always say and write that you are applying “in confidence.” If someone were to tell your boss that you are looking to leave, and she fires you, and you can prove who told her, you might (I’m not an attorney) have grounds for a law suit against the person who violated your confidence. But there is good news:

A funny thing usually happens when you tell someone that you want to talk to them “in confidence” or “confidentially.” They are complimented. You are telling them that you trust them. Most people like that feeling. It means they have a good reputation. If they violate that trust, you will be able to destroy their reputation. They won’t want that. So don’t worry.

But the bottom line is, if you are employed and looking for a change, there is no way to conduct a totally confidential job search. Be prepared! As with everything else in life, and as hubby found out, you have to be willing to be held accountable for your actions.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 300,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

Identifying and Eliminating the One Person Who is Blocking Your Job Search or Career Move

Every so often I like to read books about topics about which I am curious, knowing full well that I will not understand them. So when I learned that Einstein had written a book meant to explain his theories to the public, I ordered it. If I say I understood 25% I would be bragging and exaggerating! But it was not a waste of time. (Get it? Time. The fourth dimension! Pause for laughter.) It’s good to get out of your own head every now and again.

That is especially true with a job search. The majority of everything you do will be unsuccessful. Most of the employers you contact will not respond. Most of the people with whom you network will be of no assistance. But the minority will respond. The minority will be helpful. You will get that job or start that new career. The problem is, unless you are really lucky and get that new job quickly, it’s going to take a while. That will cause frustration and frustration leads to self-doubt. Self-doubt leads to paralysis.

Most of the resumes I receive start with self-praise.

Highly accomplished manager and sole contributor with deep understanding of best practices to support all channels of asset management distribution. Deep management team-building and mentoring capabilities. Extremely fluid at forging trans-departmental relationships and strong collaborations in highly matrixed organizations. Excellent contract negotiation skills. Creative problem solver skilled at developing effective messaging with internal and external clients. Keen sense of priorities and projects ownership to ensure successful completion on time and on budget.

That’s an exact quote and a great example of what I am talking about. Notice how great she thinks she is but, alas, no mention of a single actual accomplishment. If she had come to me for assistance, the nonsense would have been replaced with a few tangible facts about which employers would actually care. She may be as good as she thinks she is, but, to use a journalism term, if so, she buried the lead.

There is a reason why so many job seekers make this mistake. They are focused on themselves. They want employers to know how great they are. Well, no employer cares how great you think you are. Employers want to be confident that you can solve their problems. That is why self-praise needs to be replaced with selected accomplishments.

But even that is no guarantee of a job offer. And most people will still ignore you. There may be better candidates. You will not always be the best. In fact, you may be the best only once, which is all you need to be.

The problem is, as stated, rejection leads to frustration. You then go from thinking you are the best to thinking you are worthless and your career has been for nought. You start obsessing. You panic. You can’t think straight. You can’t figure out what you are doing wrong.

You then become your own worst enemy. You can’t see the forest for the trees. You no longer have any confidence. You forget about all your successes. You are the one standing in your own way!

That is when you have to step back. Unless you are in marketing or sales, you are not an expert in marketing or sales. And marketing and sales is what a successful job search is all about. You could be actually the greatest IT professional in human history, but the worst in human history making the case for your employment. There is no contradiction between the two. This is not what you do!

When that happens, when you reach that stage, you have no choice but to seek outside help. Of course, I am pitching my services. I’d be lying and would lose all credibility if I pretended otherwise. But before spending money (you don’t want to know how much some people have told me they have spent on job search assistance and career counseling!) spend time with people you respect. Notice I did not say “friends and family.” You might like or love them, but you may not respect them. And if you don’t respect them, you won’t listen to them and, just as importantly, they won’t listen to you, because they probably don’t respect you either. The person needs to be able to take a step back, forget all they know about you, and let you talk freely and candidly about your career. They first have to listen to you. Then they have to ask questions you might not like but which you will have to answer. And then you have to listen to them. You don’t necessarily have to agree with them, but you have to listen.

I have found that people sometimes ignore their most valuable traits. They take them for granted and don’t think they are a big deal when, in fact, they are. Ironically, those are the traits that may appeal to a new employer and are usually the ones that will lead to a new career. But to find them, you have to stand back and let the person with whom you are meeting see both your forest and your trees.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 300,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.