Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Engaging Your LinkedIn Network

In today’s workforce, you need to incorporate various job search tactics to compete with those who are also on the job hunt. Social Media is an indispensable tool for your job search efforts. LinkedIn is just as important to your career development strategy as writing a winning resume. However, once you have built your LinkedIn profile and obtained endorsements and recommendations from colleagues, it is not over. Keeping your account active is important as you proactively work your network. Here are tips to help you stay engaged:
  • Where are they now? Periodically, go through your network connections. Look to see if any of your connections have changed companies, job titles, posted new content or started new conversations. Exploring connections can clue you in on new happenings within your network and give you the opportunity to reach out to those with whom you have been out of touch. If they have updated their profiles, congratulate them on a new job or comment on an update they have shared.
  • Post it! You have re-connected with your network and with people you are following, but now look at yourself. Have there been any changes in your professional life? Update your status if you have a new job, a new role, a new project, or new education or training to share. Confidently communicate you accomplishments and successes. Your ability to assess and showcase your achievements can increase your profile views. Active updates invite your network to follow and reach out to you.
  • Do I know you? The very nature of networking is to meet new contacts and to exchange ideas. This can open up new opportunities. But, should you accept every invitation on LinkedIn? You might hit “reply” first. This will allow you to send a return email instead of immediately accepting the invitation. This is a chance to inquire as to why the individual would like to connect. It is possible that this person also attended Western Governors University or they are in the same industry and simply want to build their own network
  • Company contacts. LinkedIn also offers a great way to find contacts at companies that interest you. Researching the company and profiles of those currently employed at the company can be one more step toward getting the job you really want. 
For more personalized assistance on how to leverage LinkedIn in your job search or for answers to any career question you may have, please contact our professional staff for an appointment. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

11 on 11: Career Resources for Veterans, Military Personnel, and Families

In honor of Veterans Day, November 11, WGU Career & Professional Development offers 11 career resources available to current military personnel, veterans, and family members. We salute the men and women who have served and continue to make sacrifices to protect our country.

  1. Boots To Suits: Boots to Suits commits to helping the men and women who served this country to find meaningful employment.  The mission is to achieve success in business and education while networking into quality professional positions with reputable companies.
  2. Brothers Fund: Brothers Fund mission is to help veterans fulfill dreams and business ambitions by providing them with loans to start or grow their own businesses.  
  3. Feds Hire Vets: This is an official website of the U.S. Government operated by the Office of Personnel Management serving as a one-stop resource for Federal veteran employment information.
  4. G.I. Jobs: The G.I. Jobs mission is to simplify the military transition experience using education and employment tools and resources to guide you to a successful career.
  5. Hire Veterans: Through alliances with many veterans organizations, networks, and other military agencies, HireVeterans.com has established its brand as a top e-recruiting site for the veterans of our armed forces.
  6. Hiring Our Heroes: Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, was launched in March 2011 as a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment.
  7. My Next Move For Veterans: You've served your country. No you're ready for a new challenge. What do you want to do for a living?
  8. United States Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service: This website features resources to assist veterans prepare for and obtain employment.
  9. TAOnline.com (Transition Assistance Online): Founded by former military personnel, TAOnline.com has been recognized by industry experts and organizations as a top leader in providing veteran jobs.
  10. Veteran Recruiting: Veteran Recruiting (VR) is a division of Astound Virtual who has revolutionized the way military friendly employers, service members, veterans, and military spouses connect as it relates to the job search. 
  11. Veterans ReEmployment: A one-stop website for employment, training, and financial help after military service.

All of these resources in addition to several Military-to-Civilian Skills Translators can be found on the Resources for Veterans page of our website. We empower WGU students and graduates to explore, develop, and actualize individual career paths by providing current resources and strategic guidance. Please do not hesitate to contact a career specialist for personalized student-veteran career assistance.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Holiday Job Search Tips

As the holiday season quickly approaches, you might be considering taking a break from your job search. However, this could be a mistake! Despite popular belief, hiring does not come to a halt over the holidays. In fact, many organizations seek to fill job openings by the end of year that have already been allotted for this year’s budget, while other organizations are planning ahead and eager to have new employees on board as soon as the new year begins. To make the most of your holiday job search, take a look at the tips below.

Attend Holiday Events: Tis the season to socialize and be merry with your family, friends, neighbors, community, and various other groups. In addition, many regional professional associations will have a holiday luncheon or end of year networking event. Plan to arrive prepared with a 30 second standard greeting that is positive and informative. Ask lots of questions to elicit a conversation or develop a connection. Create tasteful business cards with your name, phone number and email address. This is actually one of the most fruitful networking times of the year!

Make the Calls: Holidays can be a good time to catch recruiters, hiring managers, and others at work but be smart, prepared and strategic. Don’t just start cold calling. Use the quieter time to follow up on an application, reconnect, and ask insightful questions. Also, think of someone who is in a position or industry of interest to you – send them an email introduction and follow up with a phone call to set up an informational interview. This risk might pay off.

Set a Schedule: It is easy to become distracted so set up a plan for the holiday season. Schedule your days and set SMART goals. For example, "Every weekday I will submit two applications and I will contribute to a minimum of two discussions on LinkedIn. Each week I will reach out and connect with five contacts in my network."

Know Your Industry: Depending on your goals and your targeted industry you will want to tailor your approach to looking for work during the holiday season. For example, teachers will have between now and a school district's winter break to connect with school personnel. In addition, some industries offer temporary, seasonal positions that have the potential to lead to full-time positions or serve as a way to add additional skills to your resume and expand your network.

Volunteer: Volunteering can be emotionally and spiritually uplifting. It is also a great way to network and connect with others in your community. Helping others really does help you too.

Send Holiday Cards: Send a holiday card to everyone on your networking list. Pick a non religious card that is both seasonal and professional.

Stay Optimistic: Most hiring managers tend to be more receptive to job seekers who express confidence and have an optimistic frame of mind. Use the holidays to renew and appreciate the good in your life. Also, it is okay to take a little "holiday" from job searching. Make sure to take time for activities that you enjoy and find rejuvenating.

Contact WGU Career & Professional Development: Need a resume reviewed, your LinkedIn profile updated, or interview practice? A WGU Career Services Specialist is just a phone call or email away…It turns out that career services offices are also notoriously quiet during the holidays.