How to leverage your smartphone for the job search

Have you noticed how just about everything in our world has gone mobile? You can deposit your checks without going to the bank, chat face-to-face with loved ones far away, and read books and magazines on-the-go without harming a single tree. Even the most brick-and-mortar businesses have developed mobile websites (and perhaps an app or two) to compete in today’s market.

As job seekers, it’s important to embrace the mobile job search or get lost among the competition. Here are five tips to make the most of your smartphone for the job search.

Search and vet job listings

If you’re using a website to search for job listings, download its accompanying app so you can access and vet job postings on-the-go. For instance, TheLadders’ app, “Ladders by TheLadders,” allows job seekers to identify job matches on-the-go, discover new job opportunities and retrieve information on your competition. Instead of searching by keyword, this app delivers tailored matches based on your profile, experience and career goals. The listings refresh every time you open the app, ensuring you’re looking at the newest job posts.

Beat the 72-hour window

A recent study by TheLadders found that the longer you wait to apply to a job, the less likely it is to receive a call back. If you are a good fit for a role, apply to the position within the first 72 hours of the job’s posting. Your smart phone is a great way to help you stay ahead of this 72-hour deadline.

Research your network

You can also access your social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to determine if you know someone from a target employer. Use these apps on your smartphone to do the research and reach out to your connections. Your contact can provide valuable insight in to the company, helping you determine if the job is worth an application. Additionally, studies have shown you’re 10 times more likely to land an interview when your application is accompanied by an employee referral.

Begin the application process

You can save yourself a lot of time by sifting through opportunities while on-the-go and flagging the ones that merit an application. You can then craft the perfect cover letter and tweak your resume appropriately when you’re in front of a computer. Additionally, many positions allow you to begin the application process by passing along your profile. In fact, with TheLadders app you can save the position for later or tap an icon to “like” the position, which immediately sends an alert to the hiring manager with your profile.

Be resume-ready

Bring your important job-search documents wherever you go. Use services like iCloud or Dropbox to store your resume, references or portfolio of work on multiple devices, including your smartphone or tablet. If a recruiter reaches out requesting your resume in the middle of the day, you can respond right away. You no longer have to wait until you’re back at home and in front of a computer.

Take advantage of your smart devices to search on-the-go and during the workday, and never miss a beat in your job search.

Ready to make a career move? Join TheLadders today for free.

 

3 Things to Consider if You Want to Be a Financial Advisor

Employment of personal financial advisors is projected to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for financial advisors was $81,060 in 2014, and as the population ages, demand for financial planning services should increase. For college students and new graduates considering a career in wealth management, here are some pointers to ponder:

First, take your finance education in college seriously. A critical part of advising clients on how to manage their money is actually understanding finance and being comfortable with numbers. When surveying successful professionals in the field, paying attention in school came up as a great way to excel in the field (or a missed opportunity for late bloomers in the industry). You don’t need a degree in accounting or finance, but a strong grasp on business, knowing how wealth is accumulated and understanding various investment tools definitely makes a positive impact on career development and building client trust.

Second, it is ideal if you want to help people. William Wang, a client service specialist with a leading investment services firm, realized in college that a career in wealth advising was right for him because it combined his natural strength with numbers, his interest in solving complex problems and his desire to help people. He started as an intern in college selling insurance and eventually moved to representing a variety of investment tools.

Although the products and services offered may change, great advisors recognize that their recommendations have a significant impact on their clients’ abilities to navigate through major life decisions, such as buying a house, sending a child to college or retiring with a nest egg. Advisors who start and end with a “client-first” (versus a “profit-first”) mentality tend to build longer-term client relationships and benefit from referrals due to their ethics.

Thin-skinned applicants need not apply. No one can predict what will happen in the investment markets, and no advisor will be right all of the time. However, your clients will never want to lose money. And they will always worry that someone else may be making more money than they are. If you advise individuals on their wealth, be prepared to be blamed when things are not going as well as expected. Of course, if you set reasonable expectations, build strong relationships, research options as much as possible and really try to match your recommendations to each investor’s individual goals, you will fare better than your peers who overpromise.

Not ready to stand behind more volatile investments? You may want to stick with representing more conservative long-term products. If you can handle higher stakes and you have experience with complex investment tools, you may be ready for riskier portfolio management. In summary, be sure to match the amount of pressure you can handle with appropriate client communities.

Finally, be selective about your employer. There are many different types of financial services firms looking to hire. Before jumping at the first offer, consider these things: products, prospects, pressure and paths.

  • What products would you like to represent? Options range from insurance to mutual funds to stocks to international investments and more. In general, newbies start with a more limited product range and may progress to a wider and more complex range of tools and services later.
  • Who will be your prospects? Do you need to contact your own personal network, or will you be given a list of potential customers? When starting out, an employer may want you to rely on your own connections as the source for your first deals. Other firms may have a list of leads or previous clients for prospecting. Be sure to understand how your sales will be generated.
  • Assess the pressure of various roles. Are you ready for a highly competitive, highly volatile environment, or are you better suited for a more controlled and steady pace? In any revenue creation role, there will always be some pressure. However, there is a wide range of pressure to sell among firms. Making a match is key to wanting to stick around long enough to be successful.
  • What is the path for a specific role? Titles and responsibilities vary within the financial services industry, from financial advisor to client services representative to investment advisor to wealth manager and more. Each position and company has a different progression path. Savvy advisors investigate the differences in options, consider brand image of employers and factor in who will provide training and offer mentorship.

Whether you are a new graduate looking to launch a career or a more experienced employee desiring a change in professions, financial planning is a rapidly growing employment option. It is expected that more than 60,000 new jobs will be created between 2012 and 2020. There is ample room to develop a gratifying and lucrative career.

Going to a Job Fair? Here Are Some Tips

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GoingtoanInsuranceJobFairHereAreSomeTipsThere is lots of competition at a job fair. Be should to put on your best performance to increase your odds.

There is more competition in the job market than there was a few years ago, so it pays to get out there. Attending a job fair beats sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. If nothing else, it’s a place to schmooze and find out what’s happening. Your approach to the fair may make a huge difference in whether you achieve satisfactory results.

Joe received his layoff notice on a Friday. After a week at home, he knew he had to get out and make some contacts. He found and landed his last job at a job fair, and soon discovered on the Internet there was a tech fair in his area the following week.

Armed with several copies of his resume, Joe set out with an air of confidence. His confidence got a blow when he arrived at the site and saw the long line of people waiting to get in. This was going to be a very different experience than his last job search. As he walked down the line, he met friends and former coworkers. He tried to find out what was going on inside and how to deal with it. Some of his friends were veterans of the system and were glad to share some survival tips with him. Here are 10 of those tips:

1. Once inside, get a list of participating companies and choose which companies interest you. Spend your energies on them rather than wandering from booth to booth.

2. Check out job openings for each company of interest, typically found on a listing sheet. Or use a computer, if provided, to look up individual companies.

3. Get a floor plan map — usually at the entrance or information table. Plan a route to move around the floor quickly, visiting your companies of interest.

4. Stay upbeat and energized. Try to make an impression through your enthusiasm about the work. Also try to engage the company representative in conversation about the company, and listen to what the rep has to say.

5. Try to talk to the hiring manager or senior member of the team, if possible. Recruiters can be helpful regarding the company and what they are seeking, and human resources personnel can give you information on the hiring process and the company, but the hiring manager is the one with the clout.

6. Let the person you talk to know what you have to bring to the company. Be prepared with a short statement about yourself and your background — less than two minutes. Try to hook the interviewer’s interest with something unique about you.

7. Try to get a name or business card from anyone you talk to so you can use the name as a reference when you follow up.

8. Follow up by sending a letter and another copy of your resume to human resources and the hiring manager. Mention that you talked with them, or a company representative, at the fair. Tell them how excited you are about the position. Let them know you are the solution to their problem — you can make a difference and add value.

9. Follow up in a week or so with a phone call, inquiring about the position and the hiring status.

10. Use the insurance job fair as one of many sources in planning your job search. Do further research on participating companies by visiting their Web sites and checking for additional openings and opportunities.

Try not to be overwhelmed by the size of the job fair or the number of job seekers in attendance. Keep focused on the companies you want to interview with. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t go home with a job offer or formal interview lined up. This should be just one step in your research and networking process.

Consider any new contacts you meet or information gathered at the job fair as a positive addition to your resources. Be persistent in your endeavors — job opportunities sometimes come from the least expected sources at the most unexpected times.

Seven Tips to Leverage Long-Term Employment on Your Resume

We get a lot of questions on the Resume Tips Forum from job seekers asking how to handle job-hopping and long periods of unemployment on their resumes. But occasionally, someone asks the flip side: how to handle long-term employment with one company. With so much disruption in the labor force and many workers eager to jump at better jobs, employees who stay with one company for a significant amount of time may wonder, “Am I a dinosaur?”

The answer, of course, is no. The key is to present your long-term work history as a positive attribute, proof you’re in for the long haul. Recruiting a new employee is an expensive endeavor — companies are always looking for ways to promote long-term tenure — so demonstrate you are a worthwhile investment. If you would like to use your solid work history as a selling point, here are seven ways to enhance your resume:

1. Keep Learning

Some employers might view your long-term employment as an indication that your skills have stagnated. Prove them wrong by constantly refreshing your skills through formal education and self-study. Participate in professional-development courses sponsored by your employer or paid for out-of-pocket. Create a Professional Development section on your resume to list your ongoing education.

2. Remove Outdated Skills and Credentials

Obsolete skills are a sure sign of a dinosaur, so omit them. If you aren’t sure, ask a trusted colleague or potential hiring manager whether a particular skill is still current. You can also glean this information by scouring job ads; if the skill isn’t included in job postings, you should probably take it out.

3. List Different Positions Separately

Promotions illustrate that your company realized your worth and offered you more responsibility. Even lateral moves indicate your employer recognized your diverse talents. Instead of grouping all of your positions under one heading, give your positions individual descriptions along with distinct time periods. Reinforce your internal mobility with terms such as “promoted to” or “selected by CEO to assist with a new department startup.”

If you’ve been in the same position for your entire tenure, show how you’ve grown in this position and made a difference to the organization. To jog your memory, think about how your current job duties differ from when you first started.

4. Display Accomplishments

Your employment description should go beyond merely listing job duties. To get noticed in a competitive job market, your resume should feature a track record of accomplishments. If you feel stifled in your current position, volunteer for a project outside your core competency to experience new challenges and develop new skills.

5. Use Your Employment History to Your Advantage

Use longevity, dedication, commitment, loyalty and perseverance as selling points, both on your resume and in interviews. You also have the advantage of having seen your accomplishments through from beginning to end.

6. Highlight Experiences Related to Your Goal

If you’ve been with a company for many years, chances are that you boast a long list of achievements. However, your resume should present only the experience, skills and training related to your current goal. Since a resume is a marketing piece rather than a career history, don’t feel that your resume must cover every detail of your career. Edit your experience so your resume is tailored to your current job target.

7. Create a Career Summary Section

A well-written qualifications summary at the beginning of your resume will present your career in a positive light. The summary provides an initial hard sell, demonstrating you are highly qualified for your stated goal.

Conducting a job search after a long period with one company can seem daunting, but realize that your experience provides you with skills that your next employer will value.

Why You Should Never Walk Into a Job Interview Empty-Handed

First impressions matter. A job interview is indeed your first opportunity to impress upon a prospective employer just how amazing you are. And yet many people make one really simple, easy-to-fix mistake that sets the tone for the entire thing: They walk in empty-handed.

I know what you’re thinking: What the heck should I take with me? They already have my résumé and cover letter. They didn’t request anything additional! What else do they need?

Well, before we get to that, let’s talk about why you want to bring anything at all. And, to be clear, a purse or a briefcase storing your everyday things – keys, cellphone and so on – doesn’t count, and neither does an application or background check agreement form the employer requested.

Why Bother?

When you walk in with a set of actual interview materials, you immediately look professional and prepared. You show your interviewer that you really thought about the meeting and put some effort into gathering your support documentation – things that will help him or her make a decision on your candidacy. The interviewer will immediately see you as proactive. If this is how you prepare for meetings, that’s a great sign of things to come!

Plus, when you have the materials with you, it serves as a nice reminder of things you’d like to talk about. It can be a bit of a crutch to help you stay focused on key accomplishments you want to share – the ones that perfectly demonstrate you’re an ideal match for this role.

What Should I Take?

So, what kind of materials should you bring? There’s a slew of possibilities:

  • Any paperwork the prospective employer specifically requested (obviously)
  • Additional copies of your résumé (You never know how many people you’ll meet with, and you want to make sure everyone has a paper copy to view while you chat.)
  • Your full reference list with contact information, just in case
  • Examples of your past work, if possible, such as writing samples, project plans and so on (Basically, you can use anything that provides “evidence” of your work capabilities; just be sure not to share confidential information.)
  • Past performance reviews that show an outstanding evaluation, certificates of achievement or special accolades you’ve received in writing
  • Letters of recommendation from former superiors
  • Printouts of your LinkedIn recommendations (Unless someone is already connected with you on LinkedIn, it’s likely they haven’t seen them.)
  • A competency comparison table (This is a simple table that outlines what the prospective employer is seeking, per the job posting or description, and what you specifically offer that directly matches up to these items.)

Place your materials in a nice folder, and create a personal contact card to insert into the card slot at the front. Think of this as your marketing toolkit. Make sure the items are all copies rather than originals, since you’ll want to leave it behind for their review later on.

When Should I Share My Materials?

Your interview materials should be left behind as something that will remain in the hands of the interviewer to be reviewed in depth once you’re gone. These items can help speak for you even after the actual interview is over, so make sure they’re self-explanatory.

However, it’s a good idea to introduce the items organically during the conversation as well. Reference the materials inside as you discuss your past work experience. Use them as visual aides that help you tell the story of your achievements. Remember: Interviewers always want to know what you’ve done – not just who you are. Show them the evidence, and they’re much more likely to really get it.

Take this advice to heart. Next time you walk into an interview, keep one hand free for shaking, but make sure that other hand holds your incredibly professional-looking personal marketing toolkit.

Chrissy Scivicque, the founder of EatYourCareer.com, believes work can be a delicious, nourishing life experience. As a corporate trainer and public speaker, she helps professionals of all levels unlock their true potential and discover long-lasting career fulfillment.

5 Dream Jobs You Probably Didn’t Know Exist

Having a dream job means different things to different people.

It could be the job you’ve been working towards throughout your career—something you’ll hopefully reach in the future. It could be a fantasy of a life that’s completely different from your current job, doing something extraordinary. Or it could be turning something you love to do into a job and making a living out of it.

If you’re searching for inspiration for that fantasy life with an extraordinarily cool job, here are some passions we never thought of turning into a job:

Tiny House Builder

Not to be confused with house builders who are small in stature, tiny house builders design and construct small homes that are often less than 1,000 square feet. Designers behind businesses like Tumbleweed Tiny House Company help people get back to simpler, environmentally conscious living and lower mortgages by either building ready-made and deliverable homes for customers or teaching workshops all over the country on how to build tiny homes.

Units can cost less than $20,000. Jay Shafer, who started building tiny houses in the late ’90s and is often cited as the father of the tiny house movement, explained to National Geographic what he considers a huge pro: “When you live in a tiny house you only have room for the things that truly matter. You have to choose what’s essential.”

YouTube Star

Imagine earning more than $1 million a year by doing something you already love to do—like playing video games. That’s essentially what Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg does with his ultra popular YouTube channel, PewDiePie, where he shares videos of him playing video games and reacting to what happens. The Wall Street Journal estimates he earns $4 million a year from his videos, which currently have more than 28 million subscribers.

Professional Drone Photographer

Rather than having to climb to terrifyingly great heights, hoisting oneself off the sides of buildings and cliffs alike, photographers can now get an aerial view with the help of drones and GoPros. Shooting from a drone isn’t as easy as it may appear, though; as photographer Eric Cheng told Popular Photography, when the drones fail, “they fail catastrophically.” (If you need visual proof of a drone failing catastrophically, check out Fast Company‘s Drone Vs. series.) The trick to making it work? “It’s about being able to project yourself into the aircraft, as if you’re sitting in it.”

Panda Nanny

The Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in China’s Sichuan province recently announced the winner of their worldwide search for panda cub caretakers. According to ipanda.com, a division of CNTV, Wei Cunming, a graduate of the Tongji University in Shanghai, faced several elimination rounds including a top 500 list, top 50 list, top 10 list, and a final media event competition before getting the gig. He will spend a year at the Panda Base, where he will be trained how to properly take care of pandas. “Your work has only one mission: spending 365 days with the pandas and sharing in their joys and sorrows,” Chinadaily.com reported organizers explaining.

Water-Slide Tester

Judging water slides on characteristics like “biggest splash” and “adrenaline factor” seems like hard work—that is, if you hate fun. According to ABC News, SplashWorld resorts sought a new slide tester last year after the previous tester “hung up his shorts and decided to look for a new challenge.” (I’m as baffled as you are.)

After Seb Smith landed the job, he tested slides and flumes in places like Majorca, Turkey, and Makadi Bay, Egypt, and he was compensated with more than $30,000, free travel, and a seven-night stay for two at a First Choice All Inclusive resort for his “hard work.”