GET LINKEDIN!

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How do people find jobs today?  I’ve heard that 85% of jobs are obtained through networking, and recruiters source 80% from www.LinkedIn.com .   What?!*&!  I received the first invite to join a few years ago.  Being curious,  I loaded a minimal bio and requested connections from a few of my closest friends.  After stretching to get about five 1st level connections, which linked me to ten or twenty  2nd level connections, I thought it was a kinda cute  program, somewhat like multi-level marketing.  I really didn’t see a need to delve into it since I had a job.  To be fair, I should also add that I didn’t have the time necessary to upkeep another networking site since I was already maintaining MySpace, and Facebook.  Now that I’ve separated from my employer, the need to learn LinkedIn has transitioned from unnecessary to necessary.

My career coach suggested I take their classes on the program –Networking with LinkedIn and Advanced LinkedIn.  After taking the first overview class yesterday, to describe and compare LinkedIn to a multi-level marketing scheme is a major understatement.  I’m totally impressed at the few things that I learned can be done with this powerful database.  At minimum, you can create a bio listing your name, a “professional headline” ( which can be a summary statement of your roles, and competencies), and the industry in which you play, err I mean work.   You can upload a resume and photo, initiate and receive email, filter on all your connections for information on their companies/locations/industries, make announcements to your network, and follow professional and alumni groups.

The most exciting thing that I have learned to date is that you can find a hiring manager of a company, and request an introduction if you have any 1st or 2nd level connections in your network.  Sweeeet!  Bypassing the gatekeeper and HR is the name of the game!  On the far right navigation bar, click on the “advanced” link near the search bar; this brings up the Advanced People Search Screen.  From here you can add appropriate filters, including the title of the person you think may be the hiring manager.  This left us a little stumped in class but we were told to use the title of the person to whom we reported, example “manager.”   The resulting view will bring up a bunch of manager titles.  A name will be listed next to the title if they are in your network, and you’ll have options to request an introduction.  If they aren’t in your network, apparently there is a fee of $10 you can pay to “cold call” email.  I would think this method could possibly be viewed as pestering,  but you can turn off the option to receive these calls in the Settings.

You can also perform a general job search:  From navigation bar at top, select Jobs, then Advanced Search.  Input appropriate filters and the resulting view lists multiple jobs and companies which meet your specified requirements.  Under the company name is a link to “see who at xyz company can help you get this job.”  Click that link and you view the person or people in your network that have an association with that company.  You then again have options to request an introduction through your connection.  Did I say sweet? That is an example of networking at its best.  Of course there are no guarantees that your request will meet the intended person, but your chances of getting an interview through this method I’m sure are better than submitting a resume through  impersonal  job boards.  LinkedIn.com – what a powerful networking and job search tool! Can’t wait to take the Advanced LinkedIn class.  Will report back…

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Closet Transition

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Today, my well meaning aunt who works to develop small businesses, strongly urged me not to delay searching for a traditional job. Whereas I thought any prospective employer would give me a pass for trying out my entrepreneurial skills, it became apparent through our conversation that that may not be the case. Employers for the most part want to develop someone who will stay with them; it’s not attractive to engage someone who may want at any and every moment to run off to pursue their own interests. Apparently the entrepreneurial track becomes like a virus—it enters your blood and lodges there deep within your cells. It may get to the point where you absolutely can’t work a secular job.

Maybe getting a new “interview suit” will put me in the spirit of things. I got rid of all my work suits several years ago (along with pantyhose yea rah). The last eight years with my previous employer was always business casual and less. By less, I mean that some men came into the office wearing shorts and athletic shoes. I would buy the occasional jacket but nothing formal (matching two piece), rigid, boned or uber tailored. It’s a nightmare to even think about going back to wearing suits, hose, heels on a daily basis.

Anyway, as I didn’t wear the suits, the precious closet rack space became a memento to change. After Katrina, I donated several of them to a family of women who moved to Georgia after the devastation. When that didn’t hurt much, I donated the remaining to other women’s organizations. If I got called for an interview tomorrow, I would not be prepared dress wise. Take a trip with me to my favorite clothing store Macy’s. They have a nice selection of executive corporate suits, as well as business casual, dresses, and what I call soft dressing. That is like a knit button sweater with a teddy or silk tee underneath, paired with a pant or skirt that provides a little give, or a nice dress paired with a knit wrap. I used to have a wardrobe for work, for evening, and one for working out. I absolutely now look for clothes that will go the extra mile to wear at work, and wear out at night, and are washer friendly. You want to be some sexy when you play at night, and nothing is wrong with being a smidge sexy at work, but the trick is to not let your clothes be a distraction. If you are giving a presentation, you want the audience to hear you, and focus on your words, not lose your message cause they are staring at the metallic and crystal bling framing your décolleté. Ok if you didn’t have time to work on your presentation, maybe a little distraction will work well, lol. But you get my drift. Here are a few tops I’m looking at:

This one works will work well in any office and out and about during the week or weekend.

Though I’m underwhelmed by the print on this skirt, I like the idea that comes across with the scarf – it’s soft but also very professional. The scarf gives a little bit of zing and character to keep the outfit from being dull. Actually long draped layered chains of different sizes and textures would also work.

Both of these blouses can work double duty as work gear or sexy evening play. For work, drape them over black, brown or even cream colored trousers with a fitted sweater or soft jacket. For evening let your imagination run wild with accessories, jeans, or maybe leggings.

Absolutely love love love this top – it’s cotton and spandex so it will have some give. It’s crisp and will look great over simple black trousers, also it’s a little fitted thru the waist so will also look great with a skirt, and black fitted sweater. Happy hunting to you

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CAREER TRANSITION COACH

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So I met with the career coach today.  She turned out to be an interesting entrepreneur who runs several businesses, consulting, facilitating,  and otherwise.  Although very busy, she eeks out some time every week to counsel others thru the program.  Althought I’m definitely interested in the Entrepreneur track, I have not totally discounted the track for Traditional Job Search.  She recommended taking several courses thru the company:  “Be Your Own Boss,” “Building a Target List,” “Effective Networking,” “Networking with LinkedIn,” and “Advanced LinkedIn.”  In orientation yesterday, we learned that 85% of recruiters find people assets thru LinkedIn, so that’s definitely a social avenue to be pursued. 

Apparently the team meetings(reference WAKING UP TO CAREER TRANSITION) have been suspended for the summer.  Since being part of a team is so integral to the success of the program, it might be wise for me to put the program on hold until fall.  I’ll take a few classes and then decide if that’s the best course for now.

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LIFE TRANSITIONS

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I attended two high school graduations recently, both within seven days time.  One graduation was held outside and still completed despite pouring rain; the second was held inside and completed despite the rowdy, irreverent graduates bouncing multi-colored beach and golf balls around the rows.  As I listened to the speeches of the respective salutatorian and valedictorian, they were both very similar, almost formula.  They each offered up words of encouragement, inspiration, and retrospective looks at memorable events during their four years within the hallowed halls of hell and heaven.  Many of the references made were obvious to anyone living in the here and now; some were inside jokes just for the students.  All the speeches were self-depreciating, almost apologetic in nature as they named other classmates who deserved honors for achievements other than top grades.  Then the gowned seniors strutted across their respective runways, on exhibit with glowing faces, seemingly happy, this graduation the first major achievement and transition for many.  I remember that feeling from my own high school graduation and I felt excitement for these children, now so shiny and bright like an uncracked deck of cards, the world waiting to embrace them or eat them.  I wished I could have that feeling again.

But Oh! I just had a thought that being layed off at fifty, having worked most of my career in the corporate world, I AM undergoing a major life transition too!  I need to project the graduates’ perspective of being bright and shiny, and feel the same excitement for myself.  An uncracked deck of cards I ain’t, but an ace up my sleeve, that being life tools, skills and some wisdom gained through the years, will prevent me from being eaten by the world. I’m anticipating that those same skills will assist me in being embraced once again, but then again, was that embrace ever lost? 

Here is a sweet 14 point plan written by Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D.,  to assist moving forward with mid-life career transitions:  http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/womensresources/a/careerchange_2.htm

Until then…

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aStore Partners with Sidebar

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This is an update to post:  “aStore Trumps Sidebar.” 

After I increased the script content width, the darn sidebar rolled down to the bottom of the page, exactly where it did not belong.  I spent two days on the WordPress documents and forums trying to get a resolution but no joy.  I finally posted a query in the forum  hoping some empathetic coder would take pity and snatch it up for an easy fix.  Within a few hours I had a fix to try which worked!  I fell in love with that forum moderator.  What a relief!

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