Tag: job search

Job Hunting Over 50

Posted on November 10th, by Dorothy Douglass in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. 1 Comment

I am  54 years old.  I have a tendency to start many of my blog posts with this information.  Why?  To add context to whatever I’m passionate enough about to write at that moment.  I’m also an HR professional and I like to think I am progressive and strategic.  I’m fairly active on social media – though I cannot tell you what a Reddit is, or what Four Square does, I do post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and I pin a lot on Pinterest.  Likely, if you are a young, hip, tech-savvy reader, you know now why I lead with my age.  I’m most certainly behind the times.

But onward…in my use of social media, I try to be more than just a serial poster, creeper, or tweeter.  I try to connect with my connections, and be a friend or a network ally.  Not too long ago, a Facebook friend posted a melancholy post.  Ok, it was scary.  I don’t see his posts often, but for whatever reason, it came up on my feed.  Kismet, perhaps.  High school and college classmate, not a close get-together-for-lunch friend, but one I have always admired.  I commented, “Are you ok?”

Many others posted and one shared with us that he spoke with this man and he was indeed okay, though troubled by a recent job loss, and challenged to find a new position.  I was compelled to offer to assist – hey, I AM in HR, but perhaps there was something I could share to help this friend move forward.  We connected on LinkedIn, messaged one another and arranged a phone call.

We talked for a bit and he shared his frustrations with today’s job hunt and job market.  I’m paraphrasing as best as I can (I’m over 50, cut me some slack!), and here are a few of those frustrations:

Online applications.  My friend lamented that looking for a job is just “not like it used to be.” At some point, this displaced salesman could walk in with his resume to a company and talk to someone face-to-face.  Or at least send the resume in the mail and it would be reviewed.

  • “Why must I also upload my resume when I’ve spent lots of time typing in the information on the application?”
  • “Why do companies fail to take down postings after they are filled?”
  • “Why am I always asked for my salary expectations up front and early in the process?”
  • “Why do I never… Hear… Anything?”
  • “Why can’t I call someone to convince them I can do the job?”

All are great questions.  And for any of us in the age 50+ category,  they are reasonable questions.  So here’s how I answered them, with my HR hat on. And there are some follow-up tips for HR folks.


Why upload a resume AND complete an application? 

  1. The job application is generally a legal document. Hint: Don’t falsify, glorify, or otherwise embellish information on a job application, online or otherwise.
  2. Generally, an application calls for more information and detail than is supplied on a resume. We ask for employment information including salary, supervisor name and contact info.  Specific dates of employment, and education may not be included on a resume.  Hint: Be detailed when you complete an application.  Fill in all the blanks as best you can.
  3. A resume may be filled with inaccurate, inflated, or even false information.  Hint: Don’t do this.   Google Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson for more information.  Go back to #1 – the app is a legal document.
  4. Why upload one if you are completing the application? It depends on the company, culture, and HR department.  Some companies may not require that the resume be uploaded.

Tip for the HR Pros:  It might be good to communicate information on why an application is necessary on your careers page.  We are recruiting tech-savvy professionals, of all ages.  But not everyone understands why we require application, irrespective of generation.


Why do companies not take down postings once the positions are filled?

With my rose-colored glasses on, I would like to think the HR folks are just caught up in the administrative process once the position is filled.

Tip for HR: Be sure your recruiter or HR tech person does take down postings that are filled.  Does your system have an option to automatically send a notification to all applicants when that happens?  If so, turn it on.  Our brand is everything, and if we aren’t staying up-to-date on our own job openings, how can HR be seen as credible internally or externally? Same for your company.


Why am I always asked for my salary expectations up front and early in the process?

Likely, a savvy HR professional needs to know if you and the company are in the same salary ballpark.  If you are seeking a job that pays $100,000 in salary, and the position you applied for caps at $45,000, there is no value in taking your time or the company’s to continue the conversation.  Candidates should consider having a clear picture of what they must have in order to change jobs, and what they desire in salary.  Reframe such a question with a discussion phrased something like this, “That’s a great question.  I have a salary in mind, can you tell me what the minimum pay is, and what the midpoint of the pay range is?”  Then continue the conversation.

Tip for HR:  Are you posting salary ranges out there?  Perhaps at least posting a midpoint would be reasonable.  After all, your time is valuable, too. 


Why do I never… Hear… Anything?

I hope (rose-colored glasses are on) that you mean after you complete an application.  In today’s world, companies receive many more applications than in years past.  In our company of 400+ employees, all who work within one state, we receive about 4,000 applications per year.  (Frame of reference, in 2001 we received about 200 per year.) Of those 4,000, about 2,000 are considered “complete” and are reviewed by a ‘real’ human.  Our system sends an automatic response to anyone who completes the application 100%.

If you were interviewed, I hope the HR professionals at minimum provided an electronic response if another candidate was selected for the position or if you did not make the next set of interviews.

Tip for HR: Employment brand is everything.  Want to be remembered?  Be sure to send a follow up letter, even if it is a rejection follow up.  And if time allows and a candidate calls, can you/do you/should you give feedback on where they could improve next time? What if you found them to be a great cultural fit, but not right for this position?  Following up with a personal phone call to ask a candidate to keep your company in mind for future opportunities – how cool is that?   Imagine the brand recognition you could have if you can do this in an empathetic, professional manner?


Why can’t I call someone to convince them I am right for the job?

Candidate, beware. This may result in your being seen as overly assertive, aggressive, or needy.  Generally speaking, in larger companies, the hiring manager works with HR (rose-colored glasses on here) and between them have experience in hiring and selection.  You may, indeed, be the right candidate, and depending on the job, assertiveness can be a good thing.  Desperation will not be seen as good.  An option:  follow up with a thank you call, email, or handwritten note.  Ask for future consideration and reiterate why you would be a great choice for a role in that company.  Send the HR person a thank you as well.  In today’s world, you will be remembered.

And candidates also be aware that HR may be a credible business partner to the hiring manager.  Trashing HR or following up with “did I intimidate your HR person?”  Or “Did I scare HR?” will not win you any champions the next time you apply.

Job candidates, you must be tech-savvy in this day and age.  At a minimum, you should know how to use a computer and be able to complete an electronic application.  Seek out assistance if you are rusty.  Many libraries and WorkOne offices have classes and folks ready to help.

Apply for many jobs.  The more applications you complete, the higher your chance for being contacted for an interview.  And prepare for your interview  – this is key to moving forward in the hiring process.

Tip for HR: Be open-minded and listen to the candidate.  Be professional and honest with any feedback you provide.  We tend to provide little or no feedback because of the litigious society in which we live.  How can we walk that tightrope best in recruiting?


Finally, my HR peeps, remember to show class and character in hiring.  Your brand is important and you are often the first glimpse into your company that an applicant or job candidate has.  Review your systems on occasion and have an outside, objective person complete an application in your system and give you feedback.  Was it hard? Easy? Time-consuming?  Did it ask for same information multiple times?  Did they get an automatic reply?

HR, be open to all ages, all generations – yes, I know we are sensitive to this.  Walk in the job applicant’s shoes. My Facebook friend’s questions are legitimate questions.  If he’s asking them and feeling them, I’m guessing there are many others out there in the same position.


About the Author:  Dorothy Douglass is Vice President of Human Resources & Training at MutualBank, an Indiana-based financial institution.  She began her career with Mutual in 2001 as Human Resources Manager, and is a graduate of Ball State University.  She is proud to have been in Human Resources now for more than 17 years and is continuing to “lean in” and working to influence the “people management” side of her organization.  She is passionate about managing and developing people; and I have yet to be bored in 13+ years in her current job.   She considers herself fairly tech-UN-savvy, though has immersed herself in Facebook and LinkedIn.  She’s still working on the Twitter-sphere & has goals to blog more in 2014.


The Changing Face of the Job Search #EWS2015

Posted on October 27th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace. No Comments

Editor’s Note: Women of HR has partnered with Spherion on a series of sponsored posts to bring you highlights and commentary from their 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, which contains a great deal of interesting data and statistics about future trends in the workforce and our workplaces.  This is the fourth in that series.  Watch for more over the coming months.


I don’t think many would argue that the world we now live in is driven by technology and technological innovations.  In a world of smart phones & tablets, apps, countless social networks, and constant connectivity, it would be difficult to make a case that technology is not at the center of most of our lives.  And since our work lives tend to be a microcosm of the world at large, it stands to reason that technology is, or at least should be, a critical part of our business worlds as well.


In this technologically driven world, one of the challenges for our companies and HR departments is determining the right combination of technology to use to attract, connect with, and recruit job seekers.  Gone are the days when an employer could simply place a classified ad in a local newspaper and find the candidates it needed.  Generally speaking, today’s job seekers are tech savvy and connected, reflecting the larger world in which we live.


Spherion’s Emerging Workforce Study examined some of the job seeker trends and discovered that when searching for job openings:

  • 79% use a personal computer or laptop
  • 27% use a smart phone
  • 22% use a tablet
  • 30% search on websites such as CareerBuilder or Glassdoor
  • 14% use social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook


What Does This Mean For HR Leaders?


The first thing that’s evident is that online is the place to be.  Only a relatively small percentage of job seekers aren’t looking online, so to capture the other nearly 80%, it’s critical to have a solid career site for your company.  And to stand out from others trying to attract the same talent, make sure it’s simple, easy to navigate, and clearly provides job seekers with the information they may want to know about your company and job opportunities available.


But it’s also not enough to just have a career site.  For those 27% and 22% searching on smart phones and tablets respectively (numbers that I suspect will only continue to increase as time goes on), career sites need to be at a minimum mobile friendly, and ideally mobile optimized.  This is even more critical if you’re looking to attract and recruit Gen Y, and soon Gen Z. Although not exclusive to these generations, and often important to many in other generations as well, mobile capabilities are certainly key in attracting those generations who have been using mobile technology nearly their entire lives.


However even mobile optimized career sites alone are not going to continue to be enough, especially if you’re not fortunate enough to have a well-known brand.  Well-known brands may have the advantage of being able to organically drive traffic to their career sites; for others who don’t have the brand recognition, you need to know where to be to find the candidates you desire.  This means knowing the various career and job related boards and sites, understanding which work best for your industry and markets in which you operate, and strategically using them to target candidates for various job openings.  That 30% who are using sites like these is likely to continue to increase as well.


And lastly, we can’t ignore social networks.  According to the 2015 EWS, 14% of job seekers are looking on social networks, but I believe this is where we’ll see the largest increase over the next several years, especially as our workforces continue to employ more Gen Y and Z.  And if you’re going to have a social presence, it’s critically important to be mindful of your online reputation.  We’ve already examined the importance of employment brand and online reputation to these generations in a previous post, and as our recruiting efforts continue to focus more on these generations, it’s an area we won’t be able to afford to ignore.


It’s a changing world out there, and as employers we need to be aware of, on top of, and embracing the tools and resources available to us to keep us competitive and effective.


Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

What Do Job Search Sites for Women Offer?

Posted on October 28th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella got a whole lot more attention than he bargained for when he opined that women in technology could do more for their careers by being patient and relying on “karma” rather than asking for raises. The implication was that if they’d just hunker down and do their jobs, women would find that their pay would naturally rise to the right level and everybody could be spared the awkwardness of the dreaded “salary conversation.” Though Nadella backtracked quickly, it’s hard not to have the impression that he was sharing his honest belief: That in the meritocracy of technology, people are paid what they’re worth, regardless of gender.

Of course, no business is a pure meritocracy, and gender matters a lot. On average, women earn just 77 percent of what their male counterparts do, and hold just 5.4 percent of the top jobs in the Fortune 1000. The good news: The discussions about inequality are more open now. The bad news: We still have to have them.

Obviously, then, women who are looking for work face the prospect of gender discrimination. Sometimes, the discrimination is overt — we’ve all heard stories about the hiring manager who calls you “sweetheart” during the interview. But sometimes, it’s more subtle, entwined with a culture that penalizes those who even ask about family leave, or hidden in questions about children or aging parents.

Many companies are trying to do better, though, aggressively working to recruit women into their ranks. One approach they’re taking is to post open positions on job boards that focus on women.

These websites — which range from a handful of standalone offerings to postings on the sites of women’s professional organizations — don’t offer any kind of magic bullet. Employers can’t set aside specific jobs for specific genders, after all, and chances are each position’s been posted in more than one place. But by seeking out women through these sites, the company is sending a message that it’s serious about diversity.

How do you find these sites? Google is a good place to start. Enter search terms like “women accounting job postings” or “women technology job postings.” The results will usually include links to appropriate organizations and their career sections.

Practically speaking, many of the best listings are on the sites of women’s groups in specific industries. For example, the websites of Women in Technology and the National Association of Women in Construction offer full career centers, featuring job listings as well as the ability to post your resume. In many cases, you don’t need to be a member to view the postings.

Unfortunately, these sites still leave the seeker with a lot of work to do. A posting by itself says only so much about a company’s culture and workplace, so the onus remains on you to search out intelligence using your network, social media, online forums, and the Web.

Dedicated job sites provide women with a reasonable place to begin their search, especially when they’re hosted by an organization focused on skills that match the candidate’s interests. Does posting there prove a company’s commitment to gender diversity? No. But it’s a promising signal.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

About the Author: Mark Feffer has written, edited and produced hundreds of articles on careers, personal finance and technology. His work has appeared on Dice.com, Entrepreneur.com as well as on other top sites. He is currently writing for JobsinVT.com, the top local resource for job seekers, employers and recruiters in Vermont.


Can You Meet For a Cup of Coffee?

Posted on October 29th, by Debbie Brown in Career Advice, Career Transitions, Networks, Mentors and Career. No Comments

Ever get that call from a former colleague or someone you recently met at a conference asking for that “cup of coffee?”  It is typically a code name for a job search, and I believe we should all be saying yes and be willing to support others in their quest.

But this post is not speaking to those of us taking the call – it is speaking to the caller.

Yes caller- I mean you- and how you may do a better job preparing for those coffee meetings so they are productive for both.  It surprises me how often I meet with people who are uncomfortable with or unsure how to make the most of our meeting.  Here are some suggestions for you to consider to make the meeting productive:

1. Have a target list of companies of interest in the industries you are pursuing.

When I meet with people that come to the table with a target list it helps me think of people I know to connect them to. These people may not be in the exact companies you list, however they will most likely be in the same industry. If you are a generalist that can cross industries that is great, however keep in mind that this list will help trigger new connections for you, which is why it is so important to prepare one.


2. Research the LinkedIn network for who you are meeting with to identify potential contacts of interest.

Connect on LinkedIn if you are not already connected and read through the contacts and make a list of who would like to connect to. We all know LinkedIn relationships vary across a spectrum, so the more names you identify the better your odds are of meeting more people.


3. Have jobs you are applying for handy with explanations for the feedback you are getting.

This could provide an opportunity for coaching and also prompt further discussions about potential opportunities.


4. Have an idea for how you may be able to help the person you are meeting with.

This one may go without saying, however  many people  do not do this . Even if the person you are meeting with says they cannot think of anything in the moment, I have been impressed with people that say that they have thought of a few things on their own (which may be handy in the future).


There are so many positive outcomes that can come out of a job search.  What are some of the best (and worst) experiences you have had from requesting or agreeing to a cup of coffee?


Debbie Brown is a Senior Sales Executive in Analytics, Software and Services . The majority of her career has been spent managing people and teams in software and services provided to the HR industry. Debbie enjoys sharing leadership best practices and as an avid reader is always happy to share great book recommendations. You can connect with Debbie on Twitter as @DebbieJBrown.






Desperate Times Call for Not-So-Desperate Measures

Posted on August 29th, by Judith Lindenberger in Career Advice. 2 comments

During a recent career coaching session with a client, I realized that much of the advice that he had been given was, in my humble opinion, not so very good. In fact, the advice was desperately bad.


For instance, my client said that a friend told him that he should not wear a suit to an interview because it would make him look desperate. The word desperate came up a few more times. The same friend told my client that you should never admit that you have been laid off from your job, even if is true, because that would make you seem desperate. And last, my client asked if reaching out to prospective employers, without seeing a job posting, would make him look desperate.


My advice about the suit. If you own a good suit, wear it to an interview. Dress up. Polish your shoes. Trim your facial hair. Be clean and neat. You want to make a good impression. Dressing well helps make desperately good first impressions.


My advice about admitting that you were laid off from your job. Tell the truth. There is no shame in having been laid off. The vast majority of Americans know at least one person (a friend, relative, neighbor) whose job has been eliminated. Explain that your job was eliminated, stay positive about your former employer, and move on to explaining why you are interested in their job opening. Doing so will make you seem desperately honest and focused.


And last, my advice about reaching out to prospective employers. Do it! It shows initiative and drive not desperation, in my book.


I am curious. Do you agree or disagree with my advice? And what crazy career advice have you heard and disagreed with?


About the author: Judy Lindenberger is the President of The Lindenberger Group, an award-winning human resources consulting firm, located near Princeton, NJ. They are experts in career coaching, customized training workshops, online training programs, mentoring, 360-degree assessment and feedback, HR audits, employee handbooks, and more. Learn more about them at www.lindenbergergroup.com.


Photo credit: iStockphoto

{Random Encounters} Build a Connection and Find a Job

Posted on March 5th, by Nisha Raghavan in Women of HR Series: Random Encounters. Comments Off on {Random Encounters} Build a Connection and Find a Job

One of my favorite things to do to pass time when I travel is observe people and strike up conversations with total strangers. And it has often worked for me in several ways, be it on my flight when I travel, while at the bus stop or when I am at places that I have never been before.

Strike up a conversation

I know some of us may not be comfortable talking to strangers and it is just the way we are. But I understand that I am making myself approachable and likable to the other person by making a small friendly gesture, an eye to eye contact, a smile, talking about the weather or probably sharing a story or experience about me which somehow relates to them. This can help them open up their mind, start a conversation and share something that is of common interest.

Life is quite often like this. Every day we meet someone who wants to know about somebody or who knows somebody that we want to know about. And as an HR professional who loves to network, I always keep this in mind. Not just to connect with others with an ulterior motive but to learn something new, some experience that I never dealt with before or probably help each other out by sharing experiences that help us grow as a person.

 Stories help you build connection!

I know of an incident that happened not to me but to one of my close friends while she was on her journey from Dallas, Texas to Tampa, Florida. As it turned out, the two hour journey helped land her a job when she got talking to a lady sitting next to her. Fortunately for her

that random person on that flight was a recruiter. She sparked up a conversation seeing the PHR Prep book in the hands of that recruiter. This helped her understand that the lady was an HR professional and they started talking about job searches and interview processes in different companies. She indicated that she is looking for a position in health care industry. Unfortunately, the recruiter was a headhunter in the financial industry.

But to her surprise when my friend got back home, she received an interview call from another recruiter who happened to be friends with the lady she met on the flight. And my friend got that job. How cool is that?

I am sure they might have felt much more comfortable talking to each other in a casual manner rather than sitting in an interview room across each other or at a crowded networking event.

So start striking up conversations and build connections, you may never know who knows who!

Have you had any experience like this? Would love to hear from you!

About the author: Nisha Raghavan is the author of Your HR Buddy blog and a co-host of DriveThru HR. A former HR Generalist with extensive experience in Talent Management and Development, she specializes and writes about Employee Relations, Organization Development and how companies can keep their employees more engaged through Employee Engagement Initiatives. Her experience in the corporate world was as an HR Deputy Manager at Reliance Communications Limited, India.


Skip the Clichés in Your Job Search

Posted on December 6th, by Kimberly Patterson in Networks, Mentors and Career. 2 comments

It's common sense (well it should be anyway!) that job seekers shouldn't bad mouth former employers on a job interview.

However, when you're looking for a new job, there's always a good reason for it and you should be honest — in a professional way.  I'm not talking about getting into an hour-long drama explaining how tired you are of the office politics.

I read an article where the author stated you should use the following reasons to explain why you want to leave your current employer:

  • Seeking new opportunities
  • Looking for more responsibility
  • Interested in career advancement

Don’t get me wrong – these are very viable reasons to look for a new gig.  But they've been around for eons and are ultra cliche!  Everyone who doesn't want to talk about the fact that they hate their boss will use one of these reasons.  If one of these reasons are legit for you, skip the cliche and just provide an example.  For instance, share an experience about why you're ready to tackle new responsibilities and how it will add value to an organization.

Unless the person interviewing you has just fallen off of a turnip truck or is on their fir

st day of the job, they’ll want to know more.  It's best if it comes from you rather than having the interviewer make an incorrect assumption about you or your work.

And what if you really are leaving your job because you hate your boss.  Is it best to be honest?  Well, we'd like to think we could be because there is a laundry list of bad bosses out there.  But, like it or not, perception is reality and you'll be judged way too harshly if you were that honest.  In this case, my suggestion would be to think of the second biggest reason of why you want to leave your position and go from there.

The most important thing to remember is to be your real, unscripted self.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

About the author: Kimberly Roden is an HR pro turned consultant and the founder of Unconventional HR.  She has 25 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR and business leader.  Her hands-on and innovative approach allows her to create and deliver HR solutions to meet business challenges and needs by managing human capital, talent acquisition and technology.


Handling Gaps in Your Resume

Posted on December 4th, by a Guest Contributor in Networks, Mentors and Career. Comments Off on Handling Gaps in Your Resume

In the world of job seeking and resume writing, gaps in your employment history can make recruiters question you several times and think many times over before offering you a job. Everyone is aware of this and employment gaps are big stress factors for job seekers today.

Despite the fact the economy is recovering, job hunting is still a full-time job for many people. Job seekers quickly realize that they are at their most vulnerable point in life, and anything in the resume that sticks out will only cause more fear and stress for them. This stress can make them think illogically and differently from their usual pattern.

In many cases, it is the resulting panic of an applicant seeing a job gap that causes the most problems. There will always be certain uncalled and unplanned events in a person’s life. These events, like sick or dying relatives/family members, maternity/arrival of a baby, and layoffs, can bring about a big gap in your resume. Such gaps can surface no matter how hard you work, how responsible you are, or how diligently you plan your life. The key to overcoming such gaps is to not let it hurt you when you are searching for a job.

Remember that being out of work for a period of time does not mean you cannot keep yourself busy. Keeping busy means more than just staying at home and watching TV or playing sports. It means staying involved with your profession. This can help cover up the job gap and helps you re-enter the field where you work. It also keeps your knowledge updated and skills sharp.

Here are some tips to help you active in your profession and busy without a job:

  1. Take classes on subjects related to your profession.
  2. Volunteer in a related organization or mentor others.
  3. Attend semi

    nars and read trade journals and other publications in your field.

  4. Write literature about your subjects within your field of work. You can write for papers or magazine publications or even post them on blogs.
  5. Look for consulting projects/assignments to supplement your knowledge. You could end up gaining full-time positions as a result of a project.

If you have been working as a freelancer during the job gap, make sure you add the necessary details in your resume. Write down the assignment or project dates, functions, client names, and other relevant information. In short, treat your freelance work as you would treat a regular job.

If you have a large job gap to deal with, you could try experimenting with a functional resume or a chrono-functional one instead of a traditional chronological resume. Remember, however, that some employers and recruiters red-flag such resumes because they suggest that the applicant is trying to hide something. Chronological resumes are universally preferred because recruiters can easily read them and get the necessary information about an applicant.

Above all, remember to keep your network of contacts active before you need them as they can be very helpful in your search for a new position. Gaps happen. Prepare for them now.

About the author: Maggie Larson is a master’s level career counselor and an internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International. She was also recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors. You can check out her site at ResumeIndex.com

Photo credit: iStockphoto


A Job Today is No Guarantee of a Job Tomorrow

Posted on March 14th, by a Guest Contributor in Women of HR Series: Career. 3 comments

This is the 4th post in our Women of HR series focusing on career. Read along, consider the advice and we invite you to comment with insights of your own.

You have a job, so you’re not really worried about your digital footprint.

You received so many invitations to join LinkedIn, you finally built yourself a profile. Now, if you could only remember your password! People keep talking about social networking and personal branding, but you are too busy to keep up with all of that; you’re working.

Don’t be complacent. A job today is no guarantee of a job tomorrow.

A CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes provides some sobering statistics: more than a third (35 percent) of American companies are operating with smaller staffs than before the recession. Thirty-six percent of companies will hire contract or temporary workers in 2012 and this percentage has been inching up every year since 2009 when it was 28%.  The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive late last year, says 27% of companies will hire temporary or contract workers in Q1 2012.

An M Squared poll of independent consultants suggests a temporary (or “flexible”) workforce is a permanent change. Fifty-five percent of independent consultants surveyed expect their revenue will increase in 2012. Could an outside consultant accomplish your job? If you don’t generate revenue (sales) or create product ideas, your position could be outsourced.

You don’t have to just sit around and wait for 36 percent of companies hiring contract workers to equal 50 percent. Act now to own and manage your professional reputation.

You should always act as if you may be facing a job search. If you are an expert in your field, other people should know it. Grow your reputation and stretch your network beyond the walls of your office or company. If you do not, you will face a big challenge should the time come when you need to either market yourself as an independent contractor or find a new job.

If you’ve poo-poo’ed social media, consider these four uses for tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to assist you being prepared:

  • Demonstrate your expertise. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can easily make a habit of sharing useful information via links to posts or articles you read. It’s not difficult to contribute to conversations in all of these networks, which will help you cultivate an aura of expertise (assuming you are, in fact, an expert). When you do enter the social media fray, you may be surprised by how quickly you can become part of a community of other leaders in your field.If you play your cards right, before you know it, colleagues will be looking to you as a mentor and calling you an expert.
  • Expand the network of people who know, like and trust you. You no longer need to rely on your brother-in-law or neighbor to introduce you to someone who could potentially hire you. Social networking broadens your network to include new mentors, colleagues, and contacts from around the world and right next door! We all know the best opportunities come via networking and a TIME Business article hits the nail on the when it compares job searching to throwing paper airplanes into the galaxy. In the article, Gerry Crispin, principal and co-founder at CareerXroads, cited surveys suggesting “… At least 28% of all hires came from employee referrals, although (Crispin) suggests the number may be even higher.” Don’t leave your network to chance. If you don’t spend time online expanding your network how will you effectively identify mentees? If you’re not up-to-date and cutting edge with your skills, how will you help those coming along behind you?
  • Learn information you wouldn’t otherwise know. No doubt there are conferences and events you might like to attend, but can’t swing the travel or the time. It’s likely someone is “live tweeting” the events. If you join Twitter, with a little know-how, you can find and follow all the best information and learn what people are saying without ever leaving your home or office.
  • Get hired and attract opportunities to you. Whether it’s a job opportunity you were not even seeking or a contract you need to land to pay your bills, creating a meaningful digital footprint can make the difference between being on the inside, or being outside and looking in. Results don’t happen overnight, though; don’t wait until you desperately need an online presence to try to create one. Start now. You won’t be sorry.

Are you convinced? These are just are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasons you should consider creating your online presence. Take it one step at a time and be sure to let me know when your first unexpected opportunity lands in your lap!

Photo credit: iStockphoto

About the author: Miriam Salpeter, author of Social Networking for Career Success, is a CNN-named “Top 10 job tweeter” and contributor to U.S. News & World Report’s “On Careers” column. Quoted in major media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and NBC news for her cutting-edge career advice, Salpeter is an in-demand writer and speaker regarding job search and social media. Follow her on Twitter (@Keppie_Careers), FacebookLinkedIn or Google+.

Is the Paper Resume Dead?

Posted on March 13th, by Andrea Ballard in Women of HR Series: Career. No Comments

This is the 3rd post in our Women of HR series focusing on career. Read along, consider the advice and we invite you to comment with insights of your own.

In January, the Wall Street Journal posed the question “Is the Paper Resume Dead?

As it turns out, the answer is “No.” Using information from HR recruiters and managers, as well as tracking sales of high quality paper stock at Staples, the author concluded that a paper resume is still a necessity, especially at places like career fairs.

Anyone job searching these days has experienced the online application. Some companies no longer even want a resume – they just want your application. But I’ve spoken to candidates who have been called for interviews and been caught off guard when asked for their resumes. Sometimes the online application is available to certain employees in the company, but not necessarily the ones doing the interviews.

It’s a confusing time to be in HR and experience the transition from paper resumes to employees who have a social media presence – perhaps even a brand!

On the one hand, we are advised to thoroughly research our candidates, perform background checks, and look into their past experience as a strong predictor of future performance. On the other, we’re advised not to let many things a candidate has posted on social media influence our hiring decision, given the possibility that the information posted is inaccurate or discriminatory. Further complicating the matter is our current employees, who, if they are involved in the recruiting and hiring process, love to Google and research the candidates as well.

Employees and job candidates also suffer from the same confusion.

Last week, I noticed a surprising post from a seasoned employee and resume coach. He posed a question on LinkedIn, ranting about a performance review that was only a “Meets Expectations” rating. While this employee said all of his supervisor’s comments were favorable, he was completely angered that the overall rating wasn’t an “Exceeds Expectations” as it had been in the past.

When he discussed the 4 page rebuttal he was in the process of preparing for HR, he received almost 25 responses – most of which advised him against posting about his employer in the first place. The question is now closed, but it is not deleted which means that his rant is forever out there for all to see – including future customers, clients and employers.

A professional paper resume – and a professional online presence – are both necessary.

When caught up in the heat of the moment, it feels good to just let loose. If we can stop and ask ourselves “Is it true?” and “Is it kind?” before we post it on line, we may be able to develop an online presence that it complements, rather than competes, with our well-written resume.

A paper resume may “make or break a bid for a job” and an online presence may make or break a career.