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Your Guide to a Rock Star Resume + Cover Letter

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This entry was posted in Job Seekers, White Papers by .

You never get a second chance at a first impression. In the job seeking process, your first impression (usually) relies on your resume and cover letter. While you may think these are ready to go, your dream job chances can be dashed before you get the opportunity to show them who you truly are: 1 out of 5 recruiters will reject a candidate before reading to the end of their resume (New College of Humanities).

We’re one of the largest staffing companies in the nation, so we see thousands of resumes and cover letters every week. Here are our tips to create the most professional and effective resume and cover letter.

Resume

Your resume is intended to serve as both a snapshot and an invitation. It’s a snapshot that shows how your past will indicate your future potential, and it’s an invitation to find out more.

Curating and presenting the best resume possible is crucial, especially when 75% of candidates are eliminated by their résumé alone (CIO). And with more organizations incorporating Applicant Tracking Systems, the odds are getting slimmer and the need for a killer resume is even higher.

Check out our tips for creating the ultimate resume:

Length

Your resume should never be longer than a page. A typical medium-large company gets around 100-200 job applicants per position – making the amount of time spent on each resume very limited.

When recruiters are reported to only look at a resume for less than 10 seconds, the odds of them turning the page are low, and the odds of them getting frustrated are high. Reminder: 47% of recruiters will throw out a resume if it is too long.

Cutting your resume down to a page can be difficult if you’ve had a long career, but recruiters are only interested in what’s recent and relevant. You can bring up your other career experience on your LinkedIn page and in your interview. But always keep your resume to one neatly formatted page.

Content

Now that you know how long your resume should be, you can focus on what you want to include in it. Remember, you have a limited time frame to make an impression, utilizing bullet points and creating easy-to-read content is vital.

Additionally, if you want to increase your odds of getting an interview – and the job – cater your resume to each position you are applying to. That means emphasizing your past experience to best match the position. Don’t lie or overly embellish, 51% of recruiters claim they will automatically dismiss an applicant who was caught in a lie. Simply give them the information they are looking for and always write in the first person (I, me, we, etc.).

But most importantly, DOUBLE/TRIPLE/QUADRUPLE/QUINTUPLE CHECK YOUR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR. We cannot stress this enough. It matters more than you think.

Typically, these are the sections that you will include in your resume:

Contact Information

You’d be surprised how many resumes we receive with incorrect contact information – how are we supposed to hire them if we can’t find them?! Full name, phone number, and email are absolutely required. Addresses can be clunky and take up too much space, it’s best to include your general metropolitan area. Claim your vanity URL on LinkedIn and include that as well.

Super Ambassador

(714) 939 – 8600

ambassador@rothstaffing.com

Orange County, CA

Linkedin.com/super.ambassador99

We cannot overemphasize the importance of a professional email address (this applies to LinkedIn vanity URLs as well). It’s best if it reflects your name in some way, rather than being funny or clever.

Double and triple check this section is both current and accurate.

Objectives/Executive Summaries

These can feel helpful but often end up as vague and confusing mashups of corporate zombie talk. “An efficient team player seeking opportunities…” what does that even mean?! This hollow language doesn’t speak to how amazing you are.

When space and time are precious, it’s best to avoid this section all together. You can tell a recruiter your true objective in person.

Experience

This is the meaty part of your resume. Your experience section will speak loudest to recruiters. However, it is still important to make sure this section is easy for consumption. Keep this section short and sweet by getting straight to the point.

Introduce each position in reverse in chronological order, with your most recent position first, followed by your second most recent position, and so on.

List the position, the organization, and the time spent working there. You can lead with a quick sentence that describes the position, then use bullet points to describe your accomplishments and responsibilities.

Lead with your accomplishments first, followed by your responsibilities. Use action verbs to describe these (oversaw, managed, analyzed, increased, etc.) and introduce quantitative information whenever possible.

Also, don’t forget to speak in the correct verb tense (present tense for current positions, past tense for former positions).

Ambassador, Roth Staffing Companies (2014 – 2017)

Served as a temporary employee on a variety of short-term and long-term assignments within the administrative and clerical space.

  • Simplified data entry process for weekly reports, decreasing time spent from 10 hours to 2 hours.
  • Greeted visitors from Fortune 1000 organizations and coordinated their daily activities
  • Coordinated inventory orders, office supplies, and daily office activities
  • Organized daily meetings for CEO
  • Scheduled weekly flights and travel itinerary for a team of 12 executives

There’s no need to list past salaries. This can hurt your salary negotiations.

Some like to list a reason for leaving each position. Only do this if you had a job for an unusual amount of time or have had several jobs in a short time frame. Reasons to cite include: temporary or contract work, organization closing or outsourcing, and layoffs.

If you were fired, quit, or were recruited out, there’s not much reason to cite a reason for leaving.

Education

Be proud of your education, no matter the level. However, your graduation date will affect how much you include. Always include the school, dates of attendance, and majors and minors.

Roth University

2005 – 2009

B.S. Business, Minor in Communications

Feel free to include major projects like dissertations, theses, research, and honors and awards. Go further, if and only if, you are less than 5 years out of school. Additional elements can include GPA (ONLY if it’s over 3.5), consulting projects, organizations, clubs, and notable positions.

Education and graduation are two very different things. We live in the age of technology and checking on a graduation status doesn’t take much time or effort. Catching yourself in a lie, or even a half truth, does not look good. Even “suggesting” that you might have graduated can cost you the position and your reputation. If you haven’t graduated, list your degree as “In Progress” or list the number of credits you have completed.

In the interest in time and space, if you attended community college, do not include high school. If you have a Bachelor’s degree, don’t include community college. In essence, list the highest earned.

Skills

Use this section to display your professional skills. Include work-related technical skills required to be successful in a position. Add in programs and other technologies you are skilled in.

Again, don’t lie. Don’t include skills you are not versed in or out of date. Only include it if it meets the skill rule: if you were in an interview and the interviewer asked you to demonstrate a skill on the spot, you could perform it with flying colors.

Do not include “soft skills” – they don’t mean much to recruiters and there is no way to measure them. Your experience section should have already demonstrated those skills.

Extras: Awards/Hobbies/Volunteering/Side Hustles

Include these if you have them and they are professionally relevant. These add dimension and create a more well-round vision of you as a candidate.

Format & Design

How your resume physically looks can have a big impact. Make sure you create clear sections and employ bullet points in each one. Keep spacing consistent and keep a good balance of white space.

It is imperative that you use a legible font – nothing fancy, trendy, or crazy. Standard fonts are clean and easiest to read. Size 12 font is best for formatting. Make your headings and other major points stand out.

If you are a designer, or work in the creative space, your resume design should be a demonstration of your talents. If you’re not, simplicity is key. Feel free to get a little creative, but make sure it’s printer-friendly. This means predominantly black text and being wary of colored accents. If a recruiter prints it out to share with someone else, you want to make sure it’s crystal clear. Save it as a PDF to make it easier for recruiters to view across platforms.

How much design flair you add should reflect who you are and the organization you are applying for.

Cover Letters

We’re seeing the demand for cover letters less and less now. But that doesn’t mean they have lost their value. Cover letters give you one more shot to make a good impression, add some depth to your resume, indicate your intent, and illustrate why you want that position and that organization.

Cover letters are much more structured and absolutely must be tailored for the the position and organization.

Again, recruiters have limited time to indulge in the written word. They just want the information they are looking for, 70% of employers prefer half a page or “the shorter the better” (the Harvard Business Review suggests even shaving it down to 5 sentences). A half a page comes out to about 250 words. This can feel intimidating. You either finally get a chance to express yourself and you’re limited OR you’re worried about even reaching 250 words.

William Shakespeare once said, “Brevity is the soul of wit,” meaning getting your point across efficiently is more impressive than taking the long way to express something.

To keep it in this frame, here are some of our tips.

The Template Temptation

Templates are everywhere and can be tempting. However, your cover letter should really be custom made for every position.

But fear not, there are some basic points you should address in your cover letter.

Typically:

  • 1st paragraph: Who you are
  • 2nd paragraph: What you can do for them
  • 3rd paragraph: Why this company
  • 4th paragraph/closing: Close with an action item

It’s best to address the letter directly to someone, rather than relying on “To whom it may concern:”. If you are responding to a job post with no clear recipient, it’s okay to make a general address or use “To whom it may concern:”.

Write Normal

Again, it can feel tempting to shift back into corporate zombie speak. This is your chance to speak in your true voice. Make sure your content is honest and genuine, while still being professional. Feel free to match your tone to their culture. A startup in Silicon Valley will require a very different tone than a financial firm in New York.

It can feel awkward to brag about yourself. Simply imagine someone who is proud of you is writing it. What would they emphasize? Never self-deprecate or sell yourself short, you don’t want to give them reasons to excuse you before they’ve even met you. Focus on your passions and what makes you great.

Resume Regurgitation

This is not your chance to repeat your resume. They already saw that. However, you can elaborate on some impressive projects or explain a gap.

Focus on your skills and continue to provide quantitative support. Establish what you can do for the organization and flaunt your skills. Remember to avoid soft skills unless you have concrete evidence.

Try and steer away from your educational experience unless you have something really important to emphasize.

Talk about Them

Recruiters want to know if you’re invested in their organization. Reference articles the company has written or programs they’ve implemented and relate them back to yourself. Mention connections you have to the organization (if you have one) and briefly discuss why you want to work for them.

Now that you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, take a deep breath. You have plenty to flaunt and now you know how.

Go get your dream job!

Check out open jobs with Ledgent »

Retaining Top Performers

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

Your top employees are top targets. The candidate market is in a unique space: unemployment is low, turnover is at an all-time high, and loyalty isn’t necessarily a priority for all employees – and the finance industry, in particular, is feeling the pressure. As the demand for talent grows and the available candidate pool dwindles, recruiters have their eyes set on your best employees. And often, the temptation to take on a new adventure is too great.

While it’s easier to blame turnover on poachers, most employees quit because internal forces push them out, rather than external forces drawing them in. In so many words, it’s not them, it’s you.

Wandering Eyes

According to TINYpulse, only 22% of financial workers are truly happy at work, putting them at a high risk for turnover. But even your most loyal employees are open to new opportunities, and the slightest nudge can tip the scale. Only 15% of employees are truly satisfied in their jobs and aren’t looking for other opportunities (LinkedIn). That means 85% of your employees could be at risk of leaving your organization.

Mercer states 34% of employees say they plan to leave their current role in the next 12 months. Gallup states a much higher percentage: 51% of workers are looking to leave their current jobs. LinkedIn research shows that 25% of employees are actively looking for new work, with two-thirds of them currently employed. In fact, 3.22 million Americans (2.2% of the workforce) quit their jobs in January 2017, the highest quit rate since February 2001 (Department of Labor).

While statistics on tenure and turnover may vary, one truth remains constant: employees are looking, especially in Finance.

In 2015, Compdata reported average turnover at 16.7%, but turnover within the Finance & Banking was reported at 18.6%. Meanwhile, CPA firms can experience an average turnover rate of up to 25% per year (TINYpulse).

Currently, 75% of jobseekers are employed but open to new opportunities— these are known as “passive candidates.” Almost 60% of workers look at other jobs at least monthly (Indeed). Platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor email new opportunities to passive candidates on a daily or weekly basis.

Just because they are open to new opportunities doesn’t mean they don’t like their current jobs: 80% of passive jobseekers are satisfied in their current job (LinkedIn). Among people who “love their jobs,” 50% would be willing to leave for a new opportunity (Adobe) and Glassdoor reports that 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job.

More than half of U.S. employers (57%) said hiring activity has increased over the past 12 months, while turnover has picked up by 37% in 2016 (Willis Towers Watson). With demand high and available talent low, recruiters are becoming more aggressive. They aren’t shy about going for your top talent, and their tactics are effective. In 2015, 75% of workers with new jobs hadn’t actively applied for the position, they were referred or “poached” (FRBSF Economic Research).

The reasons they leave go beyond simple temptation.

 It’s not just a Millennial problem.

Millennials have developed a reputation as job hoppers. And it’s not an incorrect assessment; 44% of Millennials say, if given the choice, they expect to leave their current employers in the next two years (Deloitte). But it’s not just Millennials: 37% of Gen X and 25% of Boomers are planning to leave their company in the next two years (Lightspeed).

Cost & Effect

When turnover is high, talent becomes a primary concern. According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), the top three challenges faced by HR organizations today are turnover, employee engagement, and succession planning.

The impact of these challenges all come at a high cost to your budget, to your team, and to your morale. Finding a new employee slows processes, requires recruiting efforts, and impacts culture. The cost of replacing an employee can range from 30%-400% of an employee’s salary (ERE Media).

When you lose an employee, their surrounding team feels the impact, too – not just in their productivity, but their team dynamic as well. Friendships can be a powerful tool in engagement and retention. Employees with a best friend at work tend to be more focused, more passionate, more loyal to their organizations, and they change jobs less frequently (SHRM). Employees agree: 46% of professionals worldwide believe that work friends are important to their overall happiness (LinkedIn) and 50% of employees with a best friend at work report a strong connection with the company (Gallup).

Friendship does have an effect on tenure: 37% of employees say “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying (Gusto), while 55% of employees have put off job hunting because they didn’t want to leave their coworkers (ICIMS).

A revolving door of teammates does not allow for this kind of synergy. Meanwhile, a solid tenured workforce can:

Help guide strategic planning Acquire cross-training Mentor and train others Nurture culture Tenure’s impact on culture will be your biggest asset, and turnover’s impact on culture will be your biggest detriment. Longevity helps solidify and support culture, setting and maintaining the standard. A consistent culture is effective in its practices and expectations.

Why They Go & Why They Stay

There is no one factor that influences employee tenure. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently defines the average employee tenure at 4.2 years. Typically, the top reasons job seekers will leave for another job are:

More compensation (61%) Location (42%) Better work-life balance (40%) Health benefits (36%) Growth opportunities (35%) Company culture (21%) Leadership (15%) (Jobvite)

All of these factors address employees’ human needs—the need to grow, the need to be valued, the need to live a full life.

Growth and opportunity are a particular driving force. Forty-one percent of employees said they would need to leave their current employer in order to advance their careers (Towers Watson). More than 60% don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them (Forbes), and another 47% of Americans would leave for their ideal job even if it meant less pay (Adobe).

Interaction between work and life can seriously influence tenure. Bamboo HR reports that 14% will leave if they don’t have a healthy work-life balance, while 46% of HR leaders say employee burnout is responsible for up to half of their annual workforce turnover (Kronos).

Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. Job searching fluctuates in accordance with life events. Around birthdays, job searching increases by 12%, 16% around class reunions, and up to 9% around work anniversaries (HBR). Any life events that inspire reflection can lead your employees to wonder, “What’s next?”

There is an eternal human search for “something better.” The good news is, your organization can proactively address every single one of these factors.

Rob Beanett, author of Passion Saving: the Path to Plentiful Free-Time and Soul- Satisfying Work defines the Employee Life Cycle, defines the cycle at seven years and SHRM’s 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report defines average employee tenure at eight years, but it’s shortening. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently defines the average employee tenure at 4.2 years. The cycle includes:

  1. Overwhelmed
    Starting a new job or position initially begins as stressful, but the new challenge drives them forward. New hire initiatives are crucial in balancing stress and engagement. (continued…)
  2. Happily Challenged
    Within six months, the employee is still being challenged but enjoys the experience.
  3. Smooth Sailing
    After another 6-12 months, the employee is confident in his ability to handle the job. They still enjoy the work, but there is not as much of a challenge and they are not learning as much.
  4. Bored
    It can take 3-7 years before an employee can feel like they can do their job in their sleep. Now the employee must actively begin looking for a new challenge.
  5. Indifferent
    Left unchallenged, the employee becomes unhappy with the company. They won’t care enough about the work to do it well. But if they find a new challenge, the cycle can begin again.

In the life cycle of an employee, it’s up to you to intervene and empower.

Lead the Way

How you involve your company’s leadership will make all the difference. They will set the tone and build a tenured team. In fact, 51% of employees who don’t feel they have the support of leadership plan to leave their job in the next year, compared to 25% of those who do have leadership support (American Psychological Association). In addition, 14% of HR leaders say lack of executive support is an obstacle to improving retention in 2017 (Kronos).

Through dedicated practices and daily efforts, your company’s leadership creates the employee experience—and plays a huge role in engagement. According to employees, the most memorable recognition comes from their manager (28%), a high-level leader or CEO (24%), and their manager’s manager (12%), followed by customers and peers.

We know that people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their boss. The main factor in workplace discontent is an employee’s manager—not wages, benefits, or hours (Gallup).

Half of U.S. adults have left their job to get away from their manager (Gallup), which is understandable considering the way the manager influences the factors mentioned earlier. Managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores (Gallup).

But don’t be so quick to point the finger of blame. Your company’s leaders need great managers, too. Leaders need the same support from the individuals they report to. Just 35% of U.S. managers are engaged, while 51% are not engaged at all (Gallup). Meanwhile, 42% of managers are currently looking for jobs with other organizations (Modern Survey).

Managers actively influence nearly every factor of tenure and engagement. They require support, growth, and recognition to fill their own cup first—then they can nurture other employees.

Building Loyalty, Achieving Retention

If you want to retain your top employees, you must implement a dedicated, proactive strategy.

Prepare Employees

If your top employee won the lottery, who would do their job tomorrow? There should be no position on your team or in your organization that only one employee knows how to do. Cross-training employees can not only keep them challenged, it provides opportunities for growth and can come in handy when looking for a replacement.

Pay Competitively

Financial temptation can be your biggest enemy: 35% of employees will start looking for a job if they don’t receive a raise in the next 12 months (Glassdoor). Fix this by offering truly competitive pay. Give raises and adjustments proactively and always connect it with some other form of recognition. Never let a paycheck speak for itself. To ensure your pay is competitive, see our Salary Guide.

Don’t forget benefits. Your employees need them. It’s as simple as that.

Value Transparency

Frequent Forbes contributor and seasoned Fortune 500 HR SVP Liz Ryan discusses a unique process at one of her former organizations. As her employees were receiving an avalanche of recruiter calls, turnover was becoming a top concern. Instead of punishing employees, the leadership team created a “poaching form.”

The form asked for the name of the recruiter, the hiring company, the name and description of the project or position, salary offered, and other details. Then, the company paid their employees $50 for each completed form. It worked like a charm. They were able to inspire an open dialogue about what employees were looking for and know what their competition was up to. Once recruiters figured out what was going on, the poaching slowed considerably.

A program like this can demonstrate trust, give you a chance to address concerns and efficiently enact retention strategies based directly on employee feedback.

Surveillance

Surveillance falls under the transparency umbrella. And it can be a tricky game. If you are or want to monitor employee internet or phone use, only use it to help, not punish.

For instance, if you notice an employee is spending considerably more time on LinkedIn, use that information to have a discussion about what the organization can do in service to that employee, rather than telling the employee to stop doing that.

Do not try to limit their behavior. The harder you press down the lid, the harder it will pop up.

Create Structured Career Paths

Everyone needs something to work towards. Work with employees on an individual basis to define a career path within your organization. Frequently check in on this path and adjust according to their needs and goals, ensuring they are challenged appropriately.

This is also how you will select your next group of leaders who will affect the tenure and performance of other employees. Promote according to performance and strengths, while rewarding tenure.

Recognition

When 82% of employees don’t think they’re recognized for their work as often as they deserve (BambooHR), they will look for it elsewhere. Your top performers give you plenty to recognize. Create a structured program that allows for an abundance of both formal and informal recognition.

Flexibility

To address issues of location and work-life balance, allow for flexible work options. This is an effective demonstration of trust and appreciation while proactively meeting employee needs. Additionally, workers who were offered telecommuting options were more productive and had lower turnover (HBR). Make sure employees have the appropriate tools and training available to do their work well.

Survey Frequently

Surveying allows you to keep an eye on engagement and give employees a chance to speak candidly. Take results seriously and make adjustments accordingly.

Support Leadership

Promote the right people into management roles, and make sure your leaders have the tools available to keep employees engaged.

Culture

Whether you recognize it or not, your organization has a culture. It’s simply the personality of your organization. You do not need ping pong tables to have an effective culture. You simply need to build your organization around your values, and in turn, implement programs that strengthen those values.

Keep a pulse on your culture and continuously nurture it. Every program, every technology, every process should somehow revert back to one of the values of the company. Always keep your culture at the forefront of every company communication.

Open Doors

No matter how great your organization is, some people will quit. It’s just part of life! Master the flow of talent and support your employees in their next step. Write recommendations and use your connections to help them build their careers. Soon, your organization will build a reputation as a launch pad, and you’ll get flooded with talent. Plus, you’d be surprised how many of those former employees will come back as boomerang employees—40% say they’d consider returning to their former company (Workplacetrends).

There’s nothing about the tenure crisis that you can’t manage. With dedicated programs, you can build effective longevity and reap all the benefits. The most important factor is to focus on helping your employees build their livelihood. When your employees are your main focus, they will find a career worth staying for within your organization.

Tips from Within

Creating Structured Career Paths

Jess Bushey serves as Market Vice President for Roth Staffing Companies, parent company of Ledgent. She oversees some of Roth’s most successful and tenured teams. Here’s what she has to say about creating structured career paths:

“I find that having a structured career path has empowered our coworkers, benefitting the overall organization. As a new employee is on-boarded, we lay an outline of several career opportunities relative to where they are starting, establishing what each stepping-stone requires. We then check in during quarterly performance reviews, outlining and benchmarking goals and outcomes that are needed to reach those next steps.

The key component to this is clear and consistent communication and allowing coworkers to explore different options than they originally thought they might aspire to.

Having a clear career path for promotion encourages coworkers to take ownership, keeping them engaged in their current role and within our organization. It has also allowed us to retain our top talent and have stronger succession planning for organic growth. It preserves and enlivens our company culture to have leaders who started in entry-level positions and grew into leadership positions, where they have authentic stories to tell our newest coworkers.”

Social Skills: Rules for LinkedIn

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This entry was posted in Job Seekers, White Papers by .

On LinkedIn, social media meets professional networking. It’s like a giant networking event combined with a resume megaphone. If you’re a regular user of Facebook, we have lots of tips on how to use that platform for your job search,  but LinkedIn is viewed by employers as the “go-to” destination for finding the most professional candidates.  We recommend using a multi-channel approach to give you the most options in your job search. Currently, 93% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting (Jobcast) and amongst those who found their job through a social network, 40% cite assistance from LinkedIn.

If you use Facebook in your job search process, you must balance a pseudo-professional and a casual social presence. LinkedIn allows you to present yourself solely as a formal, professional entity. Everyone on the site has the same intentions: to present and build themselves professionally. That makes the rules much easier to follow, and much easier to be noticed by the right people.

Currently, LinkedIn has 128 million users in the United States alone (DMR), and recruiting, sourcing, and HR professionals account for 5% of all U.S. LinkedIn Profiles – that’s 1 in 20! With so many eyes on you, you must be prepared to wow them. Remember, this is a candidate’s market, the odds are in your favor as recruiters are on the hunt for the best talent. Even if you are a passive candidate (still working, but open to new job opportunities), your profile and activity should be ready to flaunt.

Not having a LinkedIn profile, not being active on the platform, or not using it properly can be equally detrimental. Employers now expect you to be tech savvy and connected to the online community.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, don’t let yours be unprofessional. Check out our tips to make the most out of LinkedIn.

Prepare: Are you ready?

LinkedIn serves as an internet-based version of your resume, with a little extra personality. You must prepare your profile to be eye-catching and effective. This may very well be your first impression on a recruiter or organization.

Disclaimer: These are only recommendations. There are no requirements on your social media behavior. The tips listed are only intended to be helpful, and we have a lot of inside information speaking from an organization comprised of hundreds of recruiters.

Privacy: Go Public

On LinkedIn, there is almost no reason to not make your whole profile completely public. On other sites like Facebook or Twitter, it makes sense to reserve most information for your friends. However, on LinkedIn, almost exclusively, strangers will be looking you up.  Reserving information for an exclusive audience can lead them to move on to the next candidate.

(1) To change your privacy settings, log in and click on your profile.

edit profile 1

(2) Then click on “Edit your public profile

edit profile 2

Here, you can select what you want to make public. It’s best to click every box, but if you had to choose only a few, we recommend at the very least including your:

  • Picture
  • Headline
  • Current Positions
  • Past Positions
  • Education

(3) While you’re in this section, edit your public profile URL.

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When you signed up, LinkedIn gave you a random URL to share. Edit this to something a little easier on the eyes, also known as a vanity URL. Just as you would with a professional email, make sure it is appropriate and reflects your name. For example, if your name is Bob Smith, try something like linkedin.com/BobSmith1234 or linkedin.com/BobSmithLosAngeles, not linkedin.com/badboy97 or linkedin.com/pro4ubsmith.

Once you have your vanity URL, you can include it on your paper resumes. Recruiters can check out your profile and have a more dimensional view or see features that wouldn’t fit on paper.

Intro

Your Intro is the section at the top of your profile. The information here is what others will see when you post or what recruiters will see when they search for candidates and land on a result page.

edit profile 4

This section includes your photo, name, title, current position, and location. You can customize nearly every aspect of this – just click on the little pencil in the corner.

edit profile 5

Make sure this is an accurate representation of you. Never make up a title or refer to yourself as a “Guru” or “Ninja.” These phrases don’t mean anything to recruiters, and sound like made-up positions. They aren’t searchable and don’t speak to what you have done.

Picture Perfect

Your picture can make all the difference. While it may feel superfluous to feature a picture on a professional site, a photo can be the difference between landing the job and not. LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views and 36 times more messages (DMR).

Embrace the human element of LinkedIn and use a professional photo. Don’t just copy and paste your current Facebook pic. Having the right picture is crucial.

A professionally taken photo will always be best. It’s a worthy investment, but if you need to get out there right now, here are a few tips to help you get the perfect, job-winning LinkedIn profile picture:

  • ALWAYS wear professional clothes in your photo. The term “professional clothes” can vary from industry to industry, so pick what is appropriate.
  • You can take a photo of yourself, but be wary of the angles you employ. For a selfie, take it straight on, preferably from the chest up. It’s usually best to grab a friend and have them take the picture, that way your arms aren’t awkwardly positioned in the frame. Additionally, a photo that is too close can make viewers uncomfortable.

Whatever you do… NO CAR SELFIES. NEVER. NO MATTER WHAT. ABSOLUTEY NOT. The lighting may be in your favor, but it’s so incredibly unprofessional, looks lazy, and can even suggest narcissism. Don’t do it, you’re worth so much more.

  • Do NOT take a photo from a past event and crop other people out of the frame. This photo is part of your digital resume, and resumes are strictly solo. Employers can totally see your friend’s shoulder.
  • Just because you did get professional photos taken, doesn’t always mean they are appropriate. Do NOT use photos from your wedding, graduation, or any other non-professional event. However, if you have a professional photo session coming up, bring a shirt and blazer with you and get a couple specialty business shots.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… Say cheese!

  • Your picture is supposed to look like you! What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone? You smile. It’s a natural human emotional cue to indicate that you are safe, nice, and welcoming. No matter how artsy you are, no staring pensively into the distance, no duck face, and no maniacal laughter either. Humans rely heavily on eye contact for social relationships, so look in to the camera and no sunglasses, ever. A nice warm, regular smile is all you need.

Experience

If you have a resume, you know how to do this section. Fill it out just as you would a resume. Make it easy to read, quick to reference, and accurately reflective of your past positions.

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To add experience, click the little plus sign and add all relevant experience.

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To optimize this section, consider these tips:

  • Link each position to its respective company page
  • Start descriptions with a brief and prompt overview of your position
  • Utilize bullet points to further describe the position and achievements
  • Employ action words (managed, created, grew, reduced, etc.)
  • Include supporting documents and links to other media
  • Use the appropriate tense (past-tense for past jobs, present-tense for current jobs)
  • Always double, triple, and quadruple check spelling and grammar

The key here will be prompt, effective language that speaks to your skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments. If you need help with your resume, reach out to your [Ultimate] representative for general resume tips and apply them to your LinkedIn profile.

Education

Your education section will be affected by how long you’ve been out of school.

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To add to this section, click the plus sign. Include all levels of education. If you have a college degree, you do not have to include high school. Be sure to include activities, societies, and major projects (if they have a professional application). Include accomplishments like awards won, research conducted, or honors received – but unless you’re working in education, employers likely aren’t too invested in day-to-day activities from long ago.

You don’t have to go nearly as in depth as you do in your Experience section, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while. If you are a recent graduate with little experience, make sure to go more in depth.

Volunteer Experience

This section can give your profile dimension and shine light on some of your passions. Include your past and present repeat volunteer experience. One Saturday serving at a soup kitchen is great, but it may come off as you trying to fill up space. However, if you coordinated a big event, like a charity walk, include that and the responsibilities and actions that were required.

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Skills & Endorsements

Recruiters can search by skills, so make sure you flaunt yours! LinkedIn users with skills listed received 13 times more profile views than those who don’t. And those with at least five skills listed on their profile receive up to 17 times more profile views (DMR).

Only add current skills, don’t include ones that you “kinda know.” A good rule of thumb: If you were in an interview and the interviewer asked you to demonstrate a skill on the spot, you could perform it with flying colors.

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Your connections can then endorse these skills. A good way to increase your endorsements is to endorse others.

Recommendations

Your connections can write recommendations for you that will show up on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations are extremely powerful when searching for a job.

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You can ask the connections you’ve worked closely with to recommend you. Click on “Ask to be recommended” to reach out to your connections.

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It’s best to reach out to your connections and ask prior to submitting this request.

Follow each step accordingly and customize your message at the bottom. Check out our tips here on asking for a reference.

Accomplishments

LinkedIn is the place to brag about yourself. In your Accomplishments section, list relevant recognitions and associations. Don’t shy away from “softer” accomplishments that could highlight your cultural fit with an organization.

In this section, you can add:

  • Certifications
  • Courses
  • Honors & Awards
  • Languages Spoken (only add a language if you are fluent)
  • Patents
  • Projects
  • Publications
  • Test Scores
  • Organizations

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Interests

This section highlights the Influencers, companies, groups, and schools you follow. Definitely expand this area, but try to avoid potentially controversial figures or causes – anyone can see who you follow.

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Join groups that pertain to your interests or experience and follow any and all organizations you may be interested in working for in the future. When their posts pop up in your feed, like and comment, making sure the organization sees you and you stay in front of them – follow the same rules for posting, sharing, and commenting below.

Be sure to add in plenty of publications so informative articles will show up on your feed – you never know what kind of information you’ll be able to exhibit in an interview! Employers want to make sure they hire those who have a pulse on the industry and the current work space.

Engaging Usage

Now that your profile is ready to mingle, your activity will continue to build your persona as a professional and an employee. It’s not enough just to have a profile. When they click on your profile, recruiters can see your recent activity. No recent activity, or the wrong type of activity, can leave the wrong impression.

Adding Connections

When adding connections, begin with people you know. But don’t be afraid to branch out to others in the industry or even recruiters at organizations you’re interested in working with. When reaching out to somewhat random profiles for a connection, always go beyond the template and include a custom message.

Professionally and promptly, tell them why you are interested in connecting with them and include aspects of their profile that caught your eye. Quickly get to the point and don’t be afraid to compliment them. A good message can mean the difference between a connection and a bad first impression.

Here are a few examples of typical messages you might send:

A Casual Acquaintance

Hi ______,

I’m glad we had the chance to meet through [connection]. I’d love to learn more about your work in [industry], particularly [topic]. Is LinkedIn your preferred method of contact?

Thank you,

Someone you met at a Networking Event

Hello _______,

It was great speaking to you at the [event] last month. I enjoyed hearing your ideas about [topic/industry], and I am very intrigued to see what will happen next. I’d definitely like to stay in touch and keep up on the latest in your career.

Thank you,

A Recruiter

Hello ___________,

I have been following [organization] and I came across your profile and couldn’t resist reaching out. I have been working in [industry] for ___ years, and currently seeking new opportunities. I’d love to talk about whether my background might be a fit for the organization – and also keep up on the latest within [organization] from your perspective.

Thank you,

Recruiters get a lot of messages, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get a response. Once you’ve connected, comment and like their posts and continue to message without being overwhelming.

Messaging

You can freely message anyone you’re connected to. However, if you want to message someone you’re not connected to, you will have to purchase InMail capabilities. If you are wary of dropping the cash, check out these tips from our Social Media Manager, Valerie Killeen.

Tips from Within: InMail

Valerie Killeen is our Social Media Manager. She oversees and sets the guidelines for all of our social media channels. Check out what she has to say about InMail:

“No InMail, no problem!

For professionals without a premium LinkedIn subscription, communicating on LinkedIn can be a bit frustrating. If you’d like to send a message to someone that you’re not connected to, you can join their LinkedIn group (members of a common group can send 15 free messages to fellow group members, per month).

  • LinkedIn group memberships are identified at the footer of each profile.
  • Once you’ve been approved to join the group you can search for their name within the group and select the envelope icon near their name to compose an InMail message.
  • The best part?  If your InMail receives a response, you can communicate back and forth as many times as you’d like without deducting from your 14 remaining InMail messages.

Posting & Sharing

Posting on LinkedIn increases your visibility and the reach of your profile, but only if you do it right.

Anything you ever like, comment, or post, can be seen by every single one of your connections. And if someone in your network likes or comments on that, then it is visible by every single person in their network. It does not take long for a single like to find its way around the world.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when posting on LinkedIn:

Generally speaking, these are the best reasons to post on LinkedIn:

  • Professional accomplishments
  • New ideas or inspiration that relate to work life
  • New development in your career or in the market
  • Industry announcements or trends
  • Job postings
  • Professional events that you are attending or promoting

Experts recommend posting a few times a week, but no more than once per day. If it doesn’t fall into any of these categories, it may be better suited on a different platform.

Post articles.  It’s a quick and simple way to engage with your connections, as long as you remember your R’s: Recent, Relevant, and Reliable.

You can also create your own articles. Share your expertise with the world, just remember to keep it Recent, Relevant, and Reliable. Don’t underestimate the power of your perspective.

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Make sure outside articles and sources you post are coming from a reputable, professional source. For maximum engagement, include a quick sentence on why you find the article interesting, or one of your personal insights.

Pro-tip: People love to interact and share ideas, so pose a question at the end of your post. Ask a question that can lead to more than a yes or no answer; it has to get the conversation going. For example, you can say, I find it interesting that this expert discusses x and y as the driving factors, what have you found in your experience? Now the conversation is flowing and you’re learning from your connections.

When posting, make sure you monitor your post appropriately. Don’t check it every 5 minutes, but be sure to correspond with those who comment in a timely manner. If someone is acknowledging your post, acknowledge them – engagement goes both ways.

A quick “Like,” a “Thank you,” or “Totally Agree” can go a long way. Reciprocity is key.

Beware the 7 B’s:

  1. Better Half: Unless you’re connecting your significant other with one of your online connections, or highlighting a professional accomplishment — there’s really no need to post about them or your relationship. No anniversaries, no wedding photos.
  1. Booze: it’s no secret that your crazy weekend stories have no place in the office, and there’s no place for them on LinkedIn.
  1. Barack: Politics are a sensitive subject for a lot of people, and can lead to heated arguments quickly. Quite simply, it’s just unprofessional to discuss in a professional space.
  1. Bucks: Discussing your salary publicly on LinkedIn is a big no-no. This may scare away potential employers.
  1. Beliefs: For many, religion, or lack thereof, is a very personal topic, and it should remain personal. Avoid religious posts, even if they are positive.
  1. Battleground: Do not start arguments on LinkedIn, as that would be incredibly unprofessional. Also, avoid complaining about any current or past jobs.
  1. Blades + Blasters: Weapons have no place in the workspace. Weapon-related posts can make people feel uncomfortable, so it’s best to avoid these.

The rule should be: if I wouldn’t share it in an interview, I probably shouldn’t post it publicly.

NO. SELFIES. EVER. NEVER EVER EVER – unless they depict something else business related going on in the background. Otherwise, you wouldn’t stop a coworker as they walk down the hall to show them a selfie you took in your car, so don’t post it on LinkedIn.

Posts that include a photo will get more attention, but the photo must be appropriate. If you won an award or attended an exciting professional event, by all means post. However, you must make sure you still uphold professionalism, outfits included. That means no photos of you in a bathing suit poolside at a conference, or in any other outfit you wouldn’t wear to the office.

 

You may be saying, “but the posts that violate all these rules are the ones who get the most Likes and Comments,” and that’s true. It’s not necessarily a good thing that the post received so much attention.  Don’t try to go viral for the sake of going viral. You shouldn’t be posting for Likes, you should post to educate and share ideas with your connections. Meaningful connections will always beat Likes.

Liking & Commenting

A friendly reminder: all of your connections can see everything you like and comment on. We repeat this twice since some people don’t seem to realize that… Off-putting comments or liking inappropriate posts can ruin your professional image for a lot of connections and recruiters.

 

You have a lot of insight. Courteously share your ideas and learn from your connections.

Tips from Within: Don’t be that guy

Our social media specialist Victoria Hayes spends most of her day on LinkedIn. Check out her list of the 10 most annoying people on LinkedIn. Her advice? “Don’t be that guy.”

  1. The Facebook Police – These are the ones who berate others for inappropriate posts, or simply comment “Facebook” (insinuating the post should only be on Facebook and not LinkedIn). No one likes a party-pooper – if a post is truly inappropriate, report it.
  2. The Complete Stranger – These users try to add connections with absolutely no connection or introduction.
  3. The Selfie Queen – Let’s face it – you’re not fooling anyone by captioning your (usually somewhat provocative) selfie with an inspiring quote or recap of a recent career success. You wouldn’t pull that out in an interview!
  4. The Social Spammer – We don’t need to see your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts ALSO on Linkedin. Post appropriately on each channel
  5. The Creep – They comment inappropriately on selfies. Or, they post inappropriately on articles or accomplishments. Again, if you wouldn’t say it in the workplace, don’t say it on LinkedIn.
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  6. The Narcissist – The person who likes their own posts. Of course you like it – you wrote it!
  7. The Troll – We’ve seen this guy on just about every social media platform. They disagree with every post and aren’t shy about saying so – and usually not in a respectful manner. It’s okay to introduce differing ideas, it’s not okay to start an argument. If an exchange of ideas gets heated, know when to tap out.
  8. The “Guru” – “HR guru” and “recruitment ninja” are not real job titles. Just be yourself!
  9. The Philosopher -These users are always liking/sharing quotes. There’s nothing wrong with a few every once in a while, but you should be focused on sharing your ideas.
  10. The Over-Sharer – They share their professional stories, but weave in way too many intimate details.

Job Searching

Once your profile has been established and your activity has built it up, you are ready to hunt for a job.

Head to the top menu bar and click Jobs.

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Here, you can search for jobs of any kind, anywhere.

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Every job posting will have its own requirements and its own process for application.

In the jobs section, you can also indicate to recruiters that you are open to new opportunities – without anyone at your organization seeing. LinkedIn’s new Open Candidates feature privately signals to other organizations what you have to offer and what you are interested in.

Go to the Jobs tab and click on Update Preferences.

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Then you can fill out their guided form. Your “Note to recruiters” should read like a message/InMail meets Resume Summary, speaking to your skills and letting them know you are interested. Add any and all job titles you are interested in and qualified for. You can also include locations, including general, “Greater” areas, like the “Greater Los Angeles Area.” You can even specify the type of work you’re looking for, including Full-time, Part-time, Internship, Remote, Freelance, and Contract.

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Then, recruiters will have the opportunity to reach out to you. However, this does not mean that you should sit back and relax. Continue to reach out and apply for jobs.

Should I go Premium?

Looking for work is an area where a Premium membership might be most beneficial. A premium membership allows you to:

  • Reach out directly to any recruiter or job poster with 3 InMail credits
  • See who’s viewed your profile in the last 90 days and how they found you
  • Move to the top of recruiters’ applicant lists
  • See how you compare to other candidates
  • Gain access to online video courses
  • See salary details when browsing jobs without sharing your personal data

The first month is free, but monthly payments range from $25+.

Continued Engagement

It will be most important that you continue to have an active involvement on LinkedIn, even when you are not looking for a job. While 70% of Facebook users engage daily, only 13% of LinkedIn users do the same (Pew Research). Make sure you’re not only active when you need something. Recommend others and endorse their skills, assure you have a symbiotic relationship with your connections.

Comment, like, and post even when you are happily employed. Engage with your employer and boast your current work and other workplace events. Share company content and don’t be shy about your accomplishments.  LinkedIn is not just for job searching, it’s primarily an online network for professionals to share expertise, get inspired, and a place to build your professional credibility.

Ledgent Finance & Accounting is passionate about helping you in your job search. You have the smarts, experience, and the passion to catch the eye of top employers – use Ledgent Finance & Accounting and LinkedIn to make sure you get there.

Social Media for Employers

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

Welcome to the new frontier. Social media is no longer viewed as a young person’s time-waster; instead, it has transformed into one of the most proliferate forms of communication today–finance space included. While it’s true that more firms and businesses embrace the use of social media, too many solely focus on speaking to clients and ignore a vital audience: their current and future employees.

How you present yourself as an employer on social media not only affects the perception of your employees and potential candidates, but can impact the relationship you have with clients. In the new age of accountability and transparency, your audience is constantly looking for better ways to make informed decisions. What they find online creates a multidimensional profile of who you are as an organization.

The Current Social Media Climate

Social media usage is soaring. Currently, 83% of Americans have a social media account (Hootsuite) and social media comprises 30% of all time spent online (Global Wed Index). Due to widespread adoption, a once leisurely novelty now blurs the lines between social, professional, and consumer spaces.

Not only do people expect to find their friends online, but they expect to find the businesses they interact with on social media. Amongst Americans, 48% have interacted with companies or institutions on at least one social media network, and 28% would rather engage with a brand/organization on social media than visit a physical location (Hootsuite).
At the bare minimum, an employer should maintain a presence on these channels:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Yelp
  • Glassdoor

More savvy organizations will also typically adopt Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+… the list goes on and on.

Social media has a very personal approach in a relatively public space, creating a unique vortex of expectation centered on transparency, authenticity, presence, and accountability. How you use these channels as an employer can boost employee engagement, recruiting efforts, retention, and your overall image as a brand, which can further boost your reach to clients.
Beyond advertising, employers should use social media to:

  • Display your culture
  • Praise employees
  • Address complaints and negative feedback
  • Celebrate organizational accomplishments and employee achievements
  • Announce changes
  • Promote your blog or other expertise

Job Ad ≠ Presence

When you think of the relationship between employers and social media, most minds immediately jump to LinkedIn and job postings. While LinkedIn is an important and vital tool, your reach should stretch beyond this professional networking site. Strictly from a recruiting perspective, 93% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting, but only 36% of jobseekers are actually active on LinkedIn (Jobcast). And among people who found their current job through a social network, 78% attributed their job to Facebook, while only 40% cited assistance from LinkedIn (Jobvite). In general, Facebook has a higher engagement rate: 70% of Facebook users engage daily compared to only 13% of LinkedIn users (Pew Research), and 83% of jobseekers are active on Facebook (Jobcast). An in-depth, multi-channel approach creates the presence you need.

The time has come to present yourself as a multidimensional entity, beyond your service. The inner workings of your organization are not only intriguing, but they speak to your competence and trustworthiness.

Leading with Transparency

Yelp has demanded a new level of accountability and transparency from businesses. Glassdoor has done the same with internal organizational policies and conduct. While this can feel detrimental to business, this actually strengthens it. Privacy is no longer a virtue, it is a caution sign to customers.

In this new era of vulnerability, a lack of online presence suggests you have something to hide. Your clients and customers want candid information on your services and your internal operations—even the non-favorable reviews. (Too perfect of a reputation can imply bribery or tampering.) Referrals are consistently the best way to gain new business. Let the internet be your referral service. Perfect your service and address issues or complaints brought up online. This will give your clients and potential candidates a taste of the service they can expect.

For Your Employees…

Your social media movement should begin with your employees. They will be your first followers/friends, give your first shares and likes, and leave your best comments. Your employees will be your strongest testament for your employer brand and their presence will have the greatest influence on your potential candidates and client base.

According to Forbes, when employers encourage their employees to be active on social platforms, those employees are more likely to help increase sales. However, nearly 3 in 4 employees say their employer does not (or does not know how to) promote their employer brand on social media (Glassdoor). Meanwhile, 69% of jobseekers are more likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment, etc.).

How you engage your employees and how they engage with you will contribute to and strengthen your employer brand and overall reputation on social media. Glassdoor recommends utilizing social media as a tool for employee engagement through:

  • Collaboration and visibility
  • Advocacy
  • Storytelling
  • Employee feedback
  • Motivational work environment

Alongside your advertisements, news updates, and other content, celebrate your employees (with their permission, of course): tenure, accomplishments, who they are, the work that they do, and especially their contributions to your culture—individually and as a whole. Nearly one-third of employees would rather be recognized in a company-wide email from an executive than receive a bonus of $500 (BambooHR). Acknowledging your employees publicly can give them the recognition they crave.

Recognition often becomes a two-way street – when employees are part of the company’s story, they actively participate in telling that story to others. Employees who feel connected will be eager to share your content online. This is key because employee involvement is crucial for an organization’s social media strategy to be effective.

Only 26% of baby boomers, 40% of Gen Xers, and 49% of Millennials follow their organization on social media (Modern Survey), and only 33% of employees post messages, pictures, or videos about their employer on social media without any encouragement from their employer (Weber Shandwick/KRC Research). Meanwhile, only 33% of employers encourage employees to use social media to share news and information about their work or employer (Glassdoor).
You must demonstrate that social media participation is a valuable behavior. Involve leadership and, without bribing, reward employees’ social media activity.

Culture Check, Purpose Reigns

Across your social media channels, culture and purpose should be your building blocks and your guidelines. All of your communication should express both.

Begin by defining your culture and your purpose. Culture is the personality of your organization based on a shared set of values and beliefs, while purpose is why your organization exists at all, distinguishing your business in a sea of corporate-ness. All of your communication should align with these two narratives.

If your culture is not brag-worthy yet, build and nurture it. If you share anything that is untrue or uncharacteristic, you risk backlash from your employees.

Demonstrating that your organization is successful (in a business and cultural sense), combined with the widespread influence of your employees and their pride, is attractive to your clients and future candidates. Your reputation will spread, and your clients and future candidates will get to know who they will be working with.

Psych Break

When employees share information about their employer on social media, it influences a concept known as BIRGing – or Basking In the Reflected Glory. People like to associate themselves with successful entities. It’s one of the reasons we wear hats with our favorite sports teams or shirts with our favorite bands. Employees reflect in the glory of their organization’s triumph and are eager to advertise shared success.

Social media also influences the brain’s reward system, inducing feel-good chemicals with every “like.” When value is defined by both sides – employer and friends – it boosts the ego and creates feelings of pride. Your employees will be eager to share and maintain their participation, but only if your organization defines social media activity as important first.

For Your Jobseekers…

What your employees say about your organization will have an effect on job candidates. Remember, this is a candidate’s market. Jobseekers have more options than you do. How your organization is perceived has more impact than what your recruiters boast.

Even if you don’t maintain a strong presence, jobseekers are still looking to your social media platforms for information. In the US alone, 14.4 million have used social media to search for a job, while 48% used social media to find their current job (Jobvite).

When jobseekers are on the prowl, 76% want details on what makes a company an attractive place to work, 59% use social media to research the company culture of organizations they are interested in (Jobvite), and 54% read company reviews from employees (Glassdoor). The information that they find – more so than what you present on company-sponsored pages – can be extraordinarily beneficial or drastically detrimental.

Glassdoor reports 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job, while 70% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed (Corporate Responsibility Magazine).

Social media can even increase the number of high quality candidates you attract. Of companies that have implemented social recruiting, 42% say that their candidate quality has improved and 20% say it takes less time to hire (Jobvite). When they get a clear and candid picture of your workplace, candidates almost screen themselves.

However, nearly two in three say their current employer does not (or does not know how to) use social media to promote job openings (Glassdoor).

For Your Clients…

A third of Millennials say social media is one of their preferred channels for communicating with businesses, while 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions (B2C).

How you treat your employees, and how you communicate that, matters to your clients. As potential clients Google your organization, they will come across employee feedback – both positive and negative.

Mistreatment of employees can be the ultimate PR blow, while support for employees can be the ultimate boost. When your employees are unsatisfied and unengaged, they won’t deliver the best service to your clients. Companies that excel in client experience have 1.5 times as many engaged employees (Temkin Group).

Your clients want to hear what your employees have to say. Clients are also more likely to trust in-house technical experts than CEOs, reinforcing the overall credibility of a company’s strategy (Edelman). When they share your organization’s content or praise the organization, your clients trust them. Your employer brand complements your consumer brand, and how you advertise it on social media shapes both.

8 Socially Conscious Steps

Your social media strategy should be deliberate, not an afterthought.

1. Build a strategy

Eighty-four percent of companies believe a clearly defined strategy is key to achieving employer branding objectives (Employer Brand International Global Research Study). Before you post anything, define your culture, your purpose, your employer brand, how you can best express it, and who is going to oversee the process.

2. Prepare your website to greet them

All of your social media will lead back to your website, so make sure your site is consistent with your social media channels in regard to branding, message, and content.

3. Involve leadership

Your senior leaders should be your most prominent social media advocates. If you want your employees to be involved, your leaders will set the tone. They should actively post and share content – both business and culture-based.

4. Provide guidelines for employees

Many of your employees may not even know where to begin when supporting their organization online: 14% have posted something about their employer on social media that they wish they hadn’t (Weber Shandwick/KRC Research). While you cannot force your employees to praise your organization, or keep them from speaking their minds, you can provide general guidelines about what can be helpful to share regarding the organization and what information should not be shared.

On more professional platforms like LinkedIn, create stricter guidelines and boilerplates to maintain a consistent message. For example, no one in your organization should create their own job titles such as labeling themselves as a “guru” or “ninja” if, in fact, that is not their professional job title.

Be sure to also create post templates to easily share things like job postings or events.

5. Share your expertise

The world wants to know what you know. Don’t just share your business expertise –share your expertise on corporate culture. Sharing tips will not make you weaker, but will position you as an industry leader and your employees as experts.

6. Incentivize employee social media involvement

There is a 50% increase in employees recommending a company’s products or services when their employer encourages social sharing (Weber Shandwick, Employees Rising, 2014). Reward social media activity and recognize your social media super stars.

7. Designated personnel

Having too many cooks in the kitchen can muddle your message. Have designated team members focus on responding to both client and jobseeker inquiries, complaints, and praise in a timely fashion.

8. Expand your presence to multiple channels

Utilizing more casual tools like Facebook and Instagram can have a more widespread influence. All 100 of the top global brands maintain at least one company YouTube channel, and more than half (27 of 50) of CEOs in top global companies have appeared in a company video (B2C).
While it seems most logical to predominantly maintain a presence on LinkedIn, a multichannel approach is important.

Tips from Within

Link In with LinkedIn Company Pages

Although we just emphasized a multichannel approach, your LinkedIn should still be strong. Valerie Killeen is the Social Media Manager for Roth Staffing Companies (parent company of Ledgent). She manages more than 100+ social media pages and educates the entire organization on best practices.

Check out her tips on getting the most out of LinkedIn as an employer:

“Claim and develop your (free) LinkedIn company page. Company pages are an excellent platform to share news, press releases, key hires and special events. Create universal profile guidelines, particularly a consistent summary section and background photo. Then celebrate your story and what makes your company unique.

Do you wear Hawaiian shirts on Fridays? Do you decorate desks for Birthdays? Do you have an Ugly Sweater Party for the Holidays?

If so, take a fun team photo and share it on your Company’s social platforms. People love looking at photos of other people, so don’t be afraid to post away!”

In the simplest sense, let the company be its authentic “self.” Your social media presence does not have to be packaged and commercialized, it just has to be real. As an organization, you might already be extraordinary – and social media can help make sure the world knows it.

Generation Re-evaluation

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

Part pariah, part godsend, Millennials occupy a unique space in the social and working world. Raised on a diet of technology and participation trophies, Millennials are challenging the corporate world to find ways to balance their unique skills and quirks, and engage them. In reality, however, Millennials are nothing new, and what engages them may surprise you. Continue reading

Gen-Whenever: Recruiting & Retaining the 3 Generations

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

Curmudgeonly Boomers, Skeptical Xers, Entitled Millennials – even a few Traditionalists and members of Gen Z – all occupy the working population. A multigenerational workforce brings diverse viewpoints, differing skill sets, and a mix of experience and eagerness. But finding and managing this extraordinary talent is not successful without strategy.

That diversity comes with its own challenges. In order to cultivate the benefits of an age-diverse workplace, you must recruit fairly and with intention and then continue to foster an engaging environment of understanding.

T-T-Talking ‘bout my Generation

Three generations make up almost all of the workforce: (dates vary according to the source, but generally speaking)
Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to 1964)

  • Optimistic
  • Teamwork and cooperation
  • Ambitious
  • Workaholic

Generation X (born from 1965 to 1980)

  • Skeptical
  • Self-reliant
  • Risk-taking
  • Balances work and personal life

Millennials (born from 1981 to 2000)

  • Hopeful
  • Meaningful work
  • Diversity and change valued
  • Technology savvy

(American Psychological Association)

These stereotypes serve as a quick fix for understanding. However, the New Kids on the Block, the forgotten Middle Children, and the “get off my lawn” Elders can often be mischaracterized. Shared experience leads to similar characteristics and behaviors, but they should not dismiss employees as dynamic humans.

Relying too heavily on these can create an implicit bias, leading to unfair and ineffective hiring and management tactics. At worst, these stereotypes can lead to discrimination and/or a failure to understand your employees beyond the dimension of age.

Luckily, while employees of different generations are different, they’re not that different. And there are one-size-fits-all tactics that you can employ that can create a fair and engaging environment for everyone involved.

Attraction

How you find candidates, and how you engage them pre-hire, will affect your age diversity. Make sure you are prepared.

Recruiting

Never under or overestimate a candidate’s ability to find you.

The Online Revolution

Finding and being found by age-diverse candidates requires presence. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 54% of Americans researched jobs online, and 45% have applied for a job online – more than double the number in 2005. Candidates of all ages are continuing the migration into the digital age.

When creating an online job posting, your language will make all the difference. Be aware of age-discriminating phrases, like “recent graduates” or “old-school.”

In addition to the basics of the position, include information about internal practices and cultural fit, candidly and objectively. Be honest about workplace practices and culture – not everyone is looking for a ping pong table and casual attire.

Once they see your online job posting, they are likely going to check your website and social media pages. Prepare your website to greet them – begin with updating your website with the most accurate information about your organization, including cultural practices.

You don’t necessarily need a custom app, but you do need to ensure that your website and respective job postings across platforms are mobile-friendly. Make sure to test your mobile-capability for yourself from the jobseeker’s point of view.

Jobseekers are also likely to look to your social media pages to get a better feel for your company, especially sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn. Currently, social media use expands to all generations.

% of US Adults who use at least one social media site:
Age 18 -29: 86%
Age 30-49: 80%
Age 50-64: 64%
Age 65+: 34%
[Pew]

Even if they do not have an active profile on that site, jobseekers will be able to see those pages via a Google search. They will look to your Facebook, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages for more information and a candid look inside. Actively update and maintain your social media pages, and make sure your organization’s values and culture shines through, and gives an accurate and honest look into your workplace.

Some Things Never Go Out of Style…

However, online techniques, while easier, may alienate older candidates or those without regular internet access. If you are only receiving attention from a certain age group, this technique may not be fair. Be sure to utilize more “traditional” methods of recruiting, including job fairs, referrals, and print ads. Partnering with an organization like Ledgent can ensure a wider influence and a fairer candidate audience, and efficiently fill a position.

Interviewing

Interviews are your first opportunity to broaden your understanding of a candidate.

In interviewing, once again, be wary of language. It’s not illegal to ask how old someone is, but it can make them feel uncomfortable.

Avoid phrases like these, some of them are rude, some are illegal:

  1. How old are you?
  2. You’re overqualified.
  3. When do you plan on retiring?
  4. In my experience, Boomers/Xers/ Millennials are…
  5. You have too much energy/not enough energy.
  6. Do you have children? Do you plan to?
  7. Do you think you’re old enough to handle this responsibility?
  8. We know young people tend to job hop…
  9. When did you graduate?
  10. What’s your childcare arrangement?

Good thing there are plenty of other things to discuss in an interview. All jobseekers want to know more about your organization. The interview is your chance to dazzle them as well. Regardless of age, jobseekers want fair pay, comprehensive benefits, and a complementary work culture. Throw these conversation topics around like confetti.

Don’t assume that only candidates of a certain age group are interested in certain programs. Lay out all programs and allow for plenty of questions.

In a survey of more than 200 HR professionals, 90% of respondents rated recruiting for culture fit as “very important” to “essential.” Be sure to include culture-based questions and provide honest information about the culture. Don’t skew perceptions of your culture based on the candidate. Make sure their first day – and career – will be everything it’s promised to be.

As you get to know candidates, remember that age can limit exposure to certain practices and experiences. However, you can teach skills (to an extent), you can’t teach culture fit. Your organization’s values know no age. If a candidate is a stellar culture fit, don’t pass them over – no one is too young or old to learn anything.

Before, after, and during the interview, take moments of self assessment: am I making fair inferences? You can fight stereotypes simply by reflecting on any biases. If you feel as though you cannot interview fairly, it’s best to ask for assistance.

Retention

Once you have recruited this fabulous, culturally sound, age-diverse workforce, dedicated practices will keep them engaged and turnover low.

Involved, passionate employees are more productive, more profitable, and build your organization’s culture. Engaged workers consistently outperform non-engaged employees. They provide better service to your customers, remain loyal longer, and are better teammates.

However, it’s unrealistic to have custom policies for certain coworkers. Fortunately, engaging programs and policies know no age limit.

According to Quantum Workplace, while there are many factors of engagement, they can be narrowed down to three themes:

  • Confidence in Leadership
  • The Organization’s Commitment to Valuing Employees
  • Positive Outlook on the Future

This research coincides with our own internal research for employee engagement. We found the 3 main drivers of employee engagement to be:

  • “I have confidence in my leaders’ directions and decisions”
  • “Work culture brings out the best in me”
  • “[The organization] is interested in my growth and development”

Engagement is crucial for all employees, but there is no quick fix. However, the practices you implement will contribute to that engagement.

Programs will serve as the base, but engagement is solidified though everyday efforts and interactions. Active efforts of inclusion go beyond the diversity of representation and create cohesive, efficient, and dynamic teams.

Implement

These programs can cater to all employees while serving their unique needs.

Pay & Benefits

Employees cannot even begin to look towards engagement if their most basic needs are not met. Provide comprehensive benefits and be sure to calculate salaries objectively, focusing on experience and skill rather than age. To ensure fairness, check out our 2017 Salary Guide here.

Moderate Stress

All people have an optimal stress point, where an individual has enough stress to be motivated but not so much that they become overwhelmed. Boomers are more likely to occupy senior leadership roles and be overwhelmed, while Millennials in entrylevel jobs may not have enough. Create an open dialogue and share responsibilities to moderate stress.

Mentor Programs

Your employees have a lot to learn from one another. Create mentor and reverse mentor programs to increase exposure and teamwork. Retention is 25% higher for employees who have engaged in company-sponsored mentoring. (Deloitte)

Lead with Transparency

Transparent leadership and practices promote fairness, reduce jealousy, and boost connectedness.

Structured Career Paths

Regardless of where they are in their careers, there are always opportunities for growth. Amongst engaged employees, 96% have a clear idea of what is expected of them and 81% say their supervisor takes an interest in their career development (Quantum Workplace). Knowing exactly what is expected of them helps everyone get ahead, and can reduce jealousy and misunderstandings surrounding promotions and growth.

Recognition

Amongst engaged employees, 83% receive recognition for a job well done (Quantum Workplace). It’s not only millennials who want recognition, 50% of employees who don’t feel valued plan to look for another job in the next year. Create a structured program to praise and recognize employees. For more information and tips on recognition, check out our White Paper here.

Ongoing Education and Training

Technology is developing and advancing all the time, be sure coworkers of all ages have the opportunity to learn before they are replaced.

Survey Frequently

Promote a dialogue and survey frequently so employees can voice their opinions and concerns. Survey to understand employees rather than evaluate how you are doing. Then respond appropriately and take action based on those results, do not allow issues to fester. According to TNS Employee Insights, 70% of those employees who are engaged agree that their organization takes action based on survey results.

Mandatory Fun

It’s not mandatory for employees to participate, it’s mandatory for you to create opportunities. Allow for coworkers to intermingle in relaxed environments away from work. This can include happy hours, volunteer efforts, and team competitions. Know that people tend to socially prefer people closer to their own age, so create dedicated efforts to encourage employees to get to know one another.

Maintain

Once those programs are implemented, it’s up to leadership and team managers to create a fair environment. They set the tone and foster day to day collaboration and are champions for inclusion.

Can’t we all just get along?

Raised with different parenting methods, historical events, technological advances, and general experiences, conflict is inevitable – but not insurmountable.

The villain is not time or each other, it’s a lack of communication and understanding. Don’t allow yourself to get absorbed into the stereotypical generational differences, instead focus on the real root of the problem and utilize traditional methods of conflict resolution.

For instance, if an Xer is frustrated with a Millennial’s lack of ability to work independently, the problem is likely not that the Millennial needs constant validation and participation trophies. It is more likely that the Millennial did not receive the training that they needed. Use generational stereotypes to understand, not condemn or dismiss.

The Responsibility of Inclusion

To promote inclusion, keep an eye out for teammates who may be treating other employees unfairly, and promote plenty of teamwork and collaboration. Let employees be their authentic selves, but discourage exclusionary behaviors.

Unite your team towards a common cause. All generations are looking for meaning in their work. A shared purpose goes beyond our understanding of age. To learn more about facilitating a shared purpose, read our White Paper here.

Generational differences are nothing new. We have worked through them in the past and will continue to do so. However, with dedicated efforts and programs, we can make teams even more efficient and effective.

Tips from Within

James Sense is a Regional Vice President for Roth Staffing Companies (parent company of Ledgent Finance & Accounting). He manages several teams across Southern California, with ages ranging from recent college graduates to some of Ledgent’s most tenured coworkers. Check out his tips for managing a multigenerational workforce:

“Managing different generations can sometimes be difficult, but I have found that if we learn to recognize strengths within the generations, we can take advantage of these strengths to unite as one unstoppable team. The more we can collaborate, intermixing different generations and viewpoints, the more the teams will learn what the tenured coworkers can offer and the tenured coworkers can learn from the newer coworkers new ideas of doing the same tasks. I think as a manager today, we have to focus on the overall result, not how it gets done.”

Social Skills: Rules for Facebook

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This entry was posted in Job Seekers, White Papers by .

It’s this new thing called Facebook – ever heard of it? Boasting one billion members, Facebook has become a staple in everyday social life. As the social world expands into the professional world, it’s time to use this social tool to boost your professional life.

While LinkedIn is a more logical choice for professional involvement, Facebook boasts nearly 5 times as many members as LinkedIn, and a higher engagement rate: 70% of Facebook users engage daily vs. only 13% of LinkedIn users (Pew Research). With more members and more frequent use, more opportunities are available. Amongst people who found their current job through a social network, 78% attributed their job to Facebook, while 40% cited assistance from LinkedIn (Jobvite).

Facebook can be a vital tool, not only in your job search, but also in building and strengthening current professional relationships.

However, the tactics required for Facebook professional success differ from casual social use. Check out our recommendations for preparing your profile, expanding your Facebook use in a job search, and maintaining use in your professional life.

Prepare: Are you ready?

It is against Ledgent’s policy for our own hiring managers to make hiring decisions based on a candidate’s Facebook profile. Correspondingly, we have no social media requirements or expectations for candidates or our Ambassadors. However, it’s possible other organizations might not adhere to the same standard. The information displayed online is simply too tempting. Hiring managers, more likely than not, will check your Facebook. According to Careerbuilder, 60% of recruiters will use social networking sites to research candidates.

The good news is that most recruiters aren’t looking for the “bad stuff”: 60% are looking for information supporting your qualifications, while only 21% are looking for disqualifying behavior (Careerbuilder).

Another source reports more than 40% have reconsidered a candidate based on what they found, and as many as 69% of recruiters say that they have rejected a candidate based on their findings.

Even though a study by the Journal of Management found there was no link between social media and professional behavior, and that recruiter predictions based on social media are often wrong, humans – hiring managers included – cannot always separate judgments logically. What’s on your social media does not define you, but it can influence how hiring managers see you.

The good news is that your Facebook page can also display you in a positive light as well, helping hiring managers can get a more dimensional view of you as a candidate, including potential culture fit.

You need to be prepared for potential employers to look you up, to utilize your current connections, and to reach out to other professionals.

Disclaimer: These are only recommendations for using Facebook for professional use. There are no requirements on your social media behavior. The tips listed are only intended to be helpful, if you choose to use Facebook as a tool.

Privacy, Please

When it comes to Facebook, you can choose how much or how little the public can see. As always, it’s usually best to make your profile completely private. But if you want to be found, you can customize your privacy settings.

You can control who “sees your stuff,” who can contact you, and who can look you up – you can even prevent search engines from linking to your profile. This can help prevent recruiters’ wandering eyes.

privacy-settings

No matter your privacy settings, it’s best to clean up your profile. If this process feels too daunting, consider employing a squeaky-clean scrubbing app like Scrubber or Clear to make controversial content disappear.

Picture Perfect

People can see your profile picture, even if your profile is private. Since this is Facebook, the photo can be more casual than your LinkedIn photo – but it should be a nice photo.

Consider your clothing, background, and other people included in the photo. Double-check your tagged photos and ensure all photos you make visible and add in the future are appropriate.

About Me

In your About section, you can customize any and all information you advertise. Your About section includes your work and education, places you lived, contact and other basic information.

Your work and education will be the most important features in your job search, make sure those details are accurate and up to date.

To access your About section, go to your profile and click About.

facebook-screenshot

When others click on your About section, they can also see your:

  • Friends
  • Latest photos and videos
  • Places you “checked-in”
  • Pages you’ve liked
  • Events you’ve attended
  • Groups you are a part of (even if they are “closed groups”)
  • And other preferences

These can help build a more well-rounded picture of you as a candidate. But they can also reveal things that you may not bring up in an interview.

Be aware that the pages, groups, and places you’ve been may make recruiters uncomfortable.

Education and Work History

This is pretty self-explanatory, and can be found in the “Work and Education” section, under the “About” tab. Keep this up to date and accurate.

Posting & Liking Habits

When outsiders look at your profile, they can see your status updates, dating as far back as the day you joined Facebook.

According to the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016, recruiters site these as disqualifiers:

  • Typos – 72%
  • Marijuana – 71%
  • Oversharing – 60%
  • Alcohol – 47%
  • Selfies – 18%

Meanwhile, Careerbuilder states the following as disqualifiers:

  • Provocative or Inappropriate Content – 46%
  • Alcohol and Drugs – 43%
  • Bigoted Content (Race, Religion, Gender, etc.) – 33%
  • Bad-mouthing Previous Company – 31%
  • Poor Communication Skills – 29%

Note: there are ways to prevent individual connections and the public from seeing certain posts – see our Friends section for details.

Unless you specifically select your audience, all the articles you share and thoughts you express are made available. Again, the rule should be: if I wouldn’t share it in an interview, I probably shouldn’t post it publicly.

When deciding what to post, it’s best to follow the 6 B’s:

  1. Better Half: avoid oversharing about your significant other, especially intimate details or photos
  2. Bucks: money is a sensitive subject, complaining or bragging about salary can look unprofessional
  3. Booze + Bud: weekend partying may not portray you in the best professional light. Also, while marijuana laws are changing from state to state, it remains illegal under federal law and worker’s rights under the new laws vary according to location, and may not always lean in your favor
  4. Barack: politics are a volatile topic at the moment – it’s best to avoid them all together.
  5. Battleground: Do not start arguments on Facebook, those discussions are best suited for Messenger. Also, avoid complaining about any current or past jobs
  6. Blades + Blasters: weapon-related posts can make people feel uncomfortable, it’s best to avoid these

Keep these in mind with future posts and when sifting through past posts. Practice good grammar and spelling, and post things that you are proud of, including your accomplishments and activities. Go crazy when it comes to posting, liking, and commenting on professional and industry related topics and pages.

Careerbuilder cites these as the social media information that WILL get you hired:

  • Information Supporting Qualifications – 44%
  • Professional Image – 44%
  • Evidence Personality Fits Company Culture – 43%
  • Wide Range of Interests – 40%
  • Great Communication Skills – 36%

Tips from Within

Victoria Hayes and Valerie Killeen make up the Social Media team at Roth Staffing Companies (parent company of Ledgent). With experience in social media management and public relations, they are Facebook pros. Check out their tips on getting the most out of Facebook:

“Making sure your profile is appropriate for any professional contacts doesn’t mean ONLY posting professional content, or having a professional headshot as your profile picture—people expect your Facebook to be more laidback than your LinkedIn, and sometimes, pictures of your puppy even attract the most engagement!” says Victoria.

She continues, “However, you may want to think twice before posting photos of your beer bonging last weekend or whining about your latest break-up. Stay away from posting anything that could be construed as discriminatory in anyway. Clean up your act by un-tagging any inappropriate photos, deleting rude or distasteful comments from friends, and un-joining any groups that may not necessarily scream, I’m a professional adult, hire me!”

Outside eyes can also see what your friends post on your timeline. In your privacy settings, you can turn on a setting that allows you to personally approve every post that comes from third parties.

Friends

Before you look to expand your Friends list, look to your current Friends – they can serve as connections or referrals, they can even be checking you out!

Don’t be afraid to lurk on your current Friends’ pages to find out what industries they are in or what jobs they might have. If you are interested in getting involved in their industry or organization, maintain an active relationship with them. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for their advice or opinions on changes in the industry. Some may find it off-putting if someone they don’t really know randomly asks them for a job, but most are happy to reconnect and give a helping hand.

If there is anyone in particular you want to impress or if you have posts only intended for a certain audience, you can organize your friends into categories. Go to the menu on the left of your Facebook homepage and select “Friends List.” Categorize your friends to your heart’s desire, particularly setting apart professional connections.

Then when you post, you can select your audience. This can allow you to freely post anything from the 6 B’s!

When you click to update your status, look to the lower right hand corner, and click the drop down arrow. Scroll down to more options, click custom, and there you can customize who you want to share with and/or who you don’t want to share with.

Expand: Utilizing your Facebook for a Job Search

Now that your profile is ready for professional interaction, here are a few tips to expand your usage to help you find new opportunities.

valerie

Valerie recommends beginning with marketing yourself:

“Once you’ve cleaned-up your profile, let your network know that you’re looking for new opportunities… Your friends and family will be apt to help, making recommendations and introductions, and, at the very least, cheering you on! Share periodic updates, to keep your job quest at the top of their feed (and at the top of their mind)

Pro-Tip:  If you’re currently employed and searching confidentially, ensure you’re not sharing these status updates with current coworkers.”

Networking and Alumni Groups

A simple search on Facebook can lead you to a variety of networking and alumni groups. They are likely to post about different job opportunities, and are great places for you to ask about job opportunities. Forge connections with others in the groups, post relevant articles, and pose questions. It is very important to follow the B’s in these groups.

“Like” Company Pages

Companies often post about job openings or internship opportunities on their social media pages—be sure you’re following any companies you especially like to stay in the know. Take it one step further by engaging with their posts.

“As someone who has managed brand pages, it definitely doesn’t go unnoticed when one person consistently comments on or likes the company’s content,” says Victoria. “With this being said, go beyond the obvious like ‘nice’ or ‘love it’ and make sure your comments are thoughtful and worth reading.”

victoria

A knowledge of an organization’s happenings will definitely come in handy during your interview processes. Not only will they recognize your name, but you will have an up to date understanding of the organization and can provide better insight.

Friends & Liking Habits

As you increase your professional connections on Facebook, be wary of your online behavior. While you can filter who sees your posts, there isn’t a way to filter your liking or commenting activity. In their personal newsfeeds, your friends and connections can see everything you like and comment on. Again, if you regularly like and comment on things that fall within the 6 B’s, it might be best to have a fully private profile.

Maintain: Using Facebook in the Workplace

Once you’re hired, your online presence will maintain importance. We don’t recommend checking Facebook at work, but Facebook can be a powerful tool in making and strengthening workplace friendships.

Strong social relationships play a significant role in workplace engagement, and online involvement plays a role in this era of social relationships.

Those with a best friend at work tend to be more focused, more passionate, more productive, and more loyal to their organizations. Facebook can help build those friendships.

Note: You are allowed to reserve Facebook only for yourself, and not utilize it at all in your job search or workplace relationships. If that is the case, it is still a good idea to put your profile on private. It might also be a good idea to let your coworkers know that it is nothing personal, just a preference. Then put forward extra effort in the workplace, like going to lunch or after work Happy Hour.

Engage with their posts and photos (without being inappropriate), and you will soon find that you are learning more about them.

Continue the same practices utilized in preparation and expansion

  • Maintain a work-friendly profile
  • Categorize your friend groups
  • Be wary of posting, commenting, and liking habits

Facebook is more than something to stare at when bored. It can be a powerful tool that can change your professional life – for better or worse. Proactively protect yourself, make a career change, or strengthen your workplace relationships.

Candidate Supply & Demand

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

It’s a candidate’s market, we just live in it. Unemployment has fallen below 5%, and the demand for new talent only continues to grow. According to Glassdoor, 90% of recruiters agree that the market is in the candidates’ favor. When available talent dwindles, you have to find them.

Only a few candidates are actively seeking new opportunities. LinkedIn states that 25% are actively looking for new work, with 2/3 of them currently employed. Meanwhile, 75% of jobseekers are considered passive, employed but open to new opportunities. These candidates are called passive candidates or non-candidates. They are the majority of talent available.

Passive jobseekers shouldn’t be a last resort. Instead, actively strategize a recruiting approach that allows you to reach out to those who are currently employed. Their casual approach to a job search requires a dedicated technique.

This “non-candidate” pool is where the majority of talent is and can result in the best hires.

Desire & Intent

With the demand for candidates high, and the availability of talent low, top performers have the luxury of being able to find new work somewhat easily. While Millennials are labelled as “Job-Hoppers,” more frequent career change is a phenomenon expanding across generations and industries.

A survey by Willis Towers Watson states 3 in 10 employees say they are likely to leave their employer within the next two years. The average tenure has decreased from 4.6 years in January 2014 to 4.2 years in January 2016 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Meanwhile, only 15% of workers are completely satisfied and don’t want to move on to another company (LinkedIn). Job-hopping and dissatisfaction elsewhere can work in your favor. With satisfaction low and intent to leave somewhat moderate, employees are more likely to be open to a passive candidate experience.

Casually talking to recruiters or browsing the occasional job post are relatively low risk methods of exploring new opportunities.

Even satisfied workers glance at outside opportunities. While 80% of passive jobseekers are satisfied in their current job (LinkedIn), almost 60% of workers look at other jobs at least monthly (Indeed). Platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor introduce new opportunities to passive candidates on a daily or weekly basis. Meanwhile, 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job (Glassdoor).

In 2015, 75% of workers with new jobs hadn’t actively applied for the position, they were “poached” or referred (FRBSF Economic Research). Seeking passive candidates is common practice, for reasons beyond necessity.

Boomerang Employees

Another untapped resource lies in former employees: 40% say they’d consider returning to their former company (Workplacetrends). These are called boomerang employees. You already know their skills and culture fit, and they know what to expect from your workplace.

Passive Candidate, Active Results

Passive candidates have up-to-date experience, in-demand skills, and current industry knowledge. They likely won’t have a gap in their resume. They are also 120% more likely to want to make an impact, 33% more likely to want more challenging work, and 17% less likely to need skill development (Undercover Recruiter).

Passive candidate performance was rated 9% higher than active candidates, and these individuals were 25% more likely to stay with an organization long-term (CEB Recruiting Leadership Council Global Labour Market Briefing).

However, these perks come at a cost:32% of passive candidates expect a salary increase of more than 15% if approached by recruiters, and that figure rises to 51% if the job in question requires relocation (Indeed).

They are harder to find and are less likely to jump through hoops. To get their attention, they require a great deal of flexibility in your talent acquisition process.

The 3 P’s of Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are less likely to find you, less likely to participate in long hiring processes, and less likely to take the leap without plenty of information. No matter the circumstance, a new job requires risk and therefore, trust. To attract passive candidates, the process must be quick, informative, effective, and friendly.

When pursuing passive candidates, you must have a plan: be prepared, be proactive, and be persistent. While these steps may feel numerous, they are the building blocks of a comprehensive strategy that will lure in both active and passive candidates.

Be Prepared

  • Culture: Before you begin your attempts to attract new employees, focus on creating an engaging culture for your current employees. The right culture will keep your current employees from the job-hopping trend and instead make them your biggest advocates in attracting future employees.
  • Referrals: Encourage your employees to join the cause. Create a referral reward program to increase your prospects. Referrals tend to be faster, cheaper, and have higher retention rates.
  • Resources: Be sure you have the resources available to capture the attention of passive jobseekers. Be prepared to make a competitive offer and have opportunities available for advancement.
  • Online Presence: Update your website and social media pages to appropriately reflect your culture and other offerings. Be sure your site is mobilefriendly for casual, passive browsing. Pay close attention to your Glassdoor page so candidates can gain a candid understanding of your workplace.
  • Simplify: Streamline your application process and simplify your hiring process to move prospects along quickly (click here to read our White Paper). Be sure to test your online application process yourself from a candidate’s perspective.

Be Proactive

  • LinkedIn and Beyond: This will be one of your most powerful tools, but only if you use it correctly. LinkedIn is a dynamic community of both active and passive jobseekers. But how you interact with them may change the outcome.

    According to Social Talent, 81% of recruiters choose to send a LinkedIn “connect request” or InMail first to engage a passive candidate; but only 14% take the time to send an email, and only 5% try to reach out through a phone call. Utilize LinkedIn, but don’t be afraid to go beyond. Send personalized messages and follow up with other forms of communication.

    Make sure your profile is professional, up-to-date and utilized regularly. Share articles and posts, especially ones that would apply to someone who may be looking for a new job.

  • Meet Needs and Expectations: Give passive candidates a comprehensive view of what this job change will look like and what they can expect in the new position.

    According to LinkedIn, the most important factors for passive jobseekers are:

    • Better compensation and benefits
    • Better work/life balance
    • Greater opportunities for advancement
    • More challenging work
    • Better fit for skill set
  • Research: Gain an understanding of the candidate: their current position, their past positions, their passion projects, their volunteer work, etc. The more you know about them, the better you can understand them, their needs, and the potential impact on your organization.

Tips from Within

Kelli Dobbins is a seasoned recruitment professional and a National Talent Engagement Manager at Roth Staffing Companies, the parent company of Ultimate Staffing Services. Roth just wrapped up its biggest hiring year in history, increasing headcount to its workforce by 20% year over year. Kelli has filled positions ranging from entry-level opportunities to leadership roles.

Here’s her advice on winning over passive candidates:

“Double down on the communication with candidates you are working with and stay in touch frequently (via phone, text and/or email).

“Take time to get to know who they are, what their future goals are and what is going to be important to them in a new role, rather than trying to sell them a specific opening we have right now. It’s much less transactional… and more of a process of building a relationship. I like to keep track of the passive candidates I speak to and remember to reach out quarterly, just so they know that I haven’t forgotten about them.”

Be Persistent

  • Maintain: Stay in touch with former employees. Send holiday cards and check in on LinkedIn. Not only can they become boomerang employees, they can provide referrals.
  • Patience: Just because a candidate isn’t ready or available now, doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. Keep in contact without being overwhelming.
  • Meeting Places: Passive candidates will likely not want their current employers to know they are looking. Allow for calls beyond 8-5 and meetings in less-public places.
  • Diversity: Jobseekers use up to 16 sources in their job search, while passive jobseekers may use none. Advertise openings on non-job centric sites, like Facebook or Instagram, to attract those who are not frequently on LinkedIn. Diversify your platform search and presence, so you can find and be found.

Being recruited is flattering, so allow yourself to get involved in the excitement. Passive candidates are an elusive entity and in hot demand. But with a dedicated strategy, you can improve both your passive and active candidate prospects.

Although inconvenient, a limited pool of candidates is a good thing. It means the economy is improving. Jobseekers now have more opportunities and you have the chance to be part of their journey. You can be the dream job someone doesn’t know they’re looking for.

Salary Trends 2017: Be Proactive, not Reactive

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

In compiling data for our highly anticipated 2017 Salary Guide, we found some interesting trends and information about what to anticipate in the coming year.

We saw this phenomenon in 2016 and will continue to see it into next year: a candidate-driven market. According to Glassdoor, 90% of recruiters agree that the market is in the candidates’ favor. This is especially prevalent within finance & accounting, where we are experiencing a particularly tight labor market.

In the F&A industry, unemployment is 3-4%, while the average rate is 5-6%. Top candidates will be tougher to attract. These individuals may have multiple offers with salary rates at or above your market’s average. You need to be focused on effective recruiting methods and building your employer brand to stand out in the crowd.

Furthermore, a candidate-driven market creates a situation in which your employees– who may or may not be looking for a new job–could be lured away by the competition. A survey by Willis Towers Watson states 3 in 10 employees say they are likely to leave their employer within the next two years. Jobseekers, both active and passive, are willing to make a move for the right offer. Now is the time to take a look at your workforce and ensure you’re doing everything possible to retain your top people, including fair pay and engaging opportunities.

salary-trends-LG Where does salary fit into all this? The modern workplace is changing, but even as culture becomes a focal point, salary will continue to serve as a fundamental factor in employee satisfaction. Employees’ basic needs–fair pay, benefits, and reasonable working conditions–must be met before they can enjoy your organization’s personality and perks. To ensure attraction and retention of top performers, the winning combination of outstanding culture and competitive salary will be crucial in 2017.

Pay is Up

While the cost of living adjusted forecast for 2017 is predicted to be small at 0.2% (AARP), that does not mean pay raises will be minimal in the upcoming year. Employers are budgeting to increase salaries beyond a mere cost-of-living increase in order to reward their best employees and to lure top performers away from competitors.

At Ledgent Finance & Accounting, we’ve seen salaries rise higher year over year than they did from 2015 to 2016–especially in secondary markets where the tightened labor market has caught up with pay rates.

Nationwide, most markets will experience an increase of 3% in both professional and entry-level position salaries. Markets that saw slow growth in 2016 will catch up and may see pay rates increase by as much as 5% in 2017.

The tight labor market is mandating that employers offer the most competitive pay for professional level positions. Meanwhile, the minimum wage increases initiated in several states recently have caused entry-level position pay rates to increase in order to be competitive in attracting the best talent.

For Current Employees… replacing-employees-lg

Retention is Key in 2017

More than half of U.S. employers (57%) said hiring activity has increased over the past 12 months, while turnover has picked up by 37% over the past 12 months (Willis Towers Watson). With demand high and available talent low, your employees are top targets. In addition, only 15% of employees are truly satisfied in their job and aren’t looking for other opportunities (LinkedIn). That means 85% of your employees are at risk of leaving your organization.

When it comes to keeping your best employees onboard, be proactive. Review your department budget(s) and be keenly aware of which employees are vital to the success of your team or company. It is more cost-effective to keep those employees in place than to try and fill their position. Review salary data with your staffing partner or recruiter and make sure your top performers are rewarded with a competitive salary.

keep-employees-close-lg According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), there is a growing trend for salary budgets to include both cost-of-living adjustments and performance-based pay increases.

The average raise a good employee can typically expect in 2017 is about 2-3%. Meanwhile, employers who have adopted a performance-based pay structure plan to increase salaries of top performers by 5-10% to aid with retention. Keep this in mind, employees with successful track records can typically find an opportunity that pays them about 10% more.

As you propose your salary adjustments with retention in mind, remember that salary is important, but won’t keep an employee from leaving. Get salary right and then make sure you are excelling in the other areas of employee engagement.

Bonuses

Your top performers won’t be satisfied with a simple cost of living adjustment. According to Glassdoor, 35% of employees will start looking for a job if they don’t receive a pay raise in the next 12 months. And your competition is keeping an eye on them. Combat this with performancebased bonuses.

Every organization has a salary budget for its employees. According to SHRM, when a low performer receives even a token incentive payout, it takes money away from payouts for those employees who are driving organizational performance. Bonuses rooted in performance can create a rewarding system of fairness and recognition, keeping your top performers engaged and rewarded.

Make these programs available for all, so lower performers won’t feel left out. Besides, you may be surprised who rises to the occasion. Everyone should be accountable and eligible.

As employees work towards these goals, provide abundant recognition and feedback. A lack of acknowledgment has a direct impact on productivity: 50% of employees who don’t feel valued plan to look for another job within the next year (Huffington Post). And a study by KRC Research discovered 6 in 10 employed Americans say they are more motivated by recognition than they are money. The combination of recognition and money will aid in retention.

When Recruiting…

Passive candidates require competitive offerings

Your best candidates may be the ones who aren’t looking for a new job at all. “Passive” candidates or “noncandidates”– the ones who aren’t actively looking–are attractive mainly due to their up-to-date experience. They are also 120% more likely to want to make an impact and 33% more likely to want more challenging work (Undercover Recruiter).

But how will you find them? They likely won’t be looking at job boards, and if they are, they won’t want to go through lengthy application procedures. Work with your staffing partner to diversify your approach, while emphasizing social media and incentivizing referrals from current employees.

When luring in outside talent, salary is expected to be on the higher side of average rates. When attracting passive candidates, salary is expected to be even higher. According to Indeed, 32% of passive candidates expect a salary increase of more than 15% if approached by recruiters.

The perks and environment your organization can offer are more powerful than you think: 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job (Glassdoor). Meanwhile, 69% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed! Build your employer brand online and across social media to create a clear picture of what it’s like to work for your organization.

Counter-Counter-Offer top-considerations-lg

When a top performer prepares to leave an organization, they will likely receive a counter-offer from that organization. And often, you won’t be the only organization a candidate may be interviewing with. Make sure your job offer is more powerful–that means competitive salary plus a clear picture of how they will be engaged.

Move your hiring process along quickly and give candidates 24 hours to respond to the offer. Have your counter-offer on hand and ready to go.

Actively address these throughout the interview process and reiterate them along with your counter offer. Discuss career paths and growth opportunities, future projects, and organizational happenings, then relate them to the candidate. Demonstrate how you are invested in them. For example, “I remember you said that you have a dog. Our extended lunches are perfect for pet owners, as many of our employees use that time to go home and check on their animals. Then on Fridays everyone brings their dog to work with them. We’d love to welcome your dog to the team.”

It’s personal touches like this that will capture their attention and strengthen your counter-offer.

Just be yourself: Remember to be realistic about what your workplace is actually like on a daily basis. Your workplace is not meant for everyone and that’s okay.

Beyond Salary

The most important thing you can do in 2017 and beyond is maintain high levels of engagement for both tenured and new employees. Money is important to all employees, so being proactive with salary adjustments will keep them engaged on the most basic level. To truly nurture employees and encourage retention, you must invest in culture and workplace practices. Consistently reiterate your best practices to your employees and ensure that they are involved in the process of building and championing your workplace culture.

Take a proactive approach with monetary and cultural practices and your organization will rock 2017.