Author Archives: Alex Freund

About Alex Freund

Alex has extensive experience with interviewing people. He has also practical training in career coaching. Consequently, he formed LandingExpert – Career Coaching services. He is prominent in a number of networking groups and has helped many job seekers with their career searches, providing them with tools, information, marketing material, and one-on-one preparation for the interview. Via his website he offers people in transition and otherwise a comprehensive and updated list of job-search networking groups. This list is being viewed consistently by over 3000 people per month.

How to Change a Career Not a Job

How to Change a Career Not a Job

Career change is possible if you know how

No surprise that in this economy more and more people are toying around with the idea of changing careers. For some, such a change represents an opportunity; for others, it may be a necessity because their industries are shifting, shrinking, or becoming extinct. The question my clients ask with more and more frequency is how to go about it. Regrettably, though, there’s no simple or one-size-fits-all answer, because each situation is unique. In other words, no two people’s circumstances are the same. A career coach cannot make such a decision for a client; the answer has to come from the individual. A career coach can of course counsel, guide, and support the process.

Let’s make sure we understand that I’m not referring to a job change. A career change is a radical change–for example, an executive with a finance background who buys a restaurant, or a manager at AT&T, a very well-known communications company, who shifts into managing an adult community or a nursing home. Those are real-life examples of people who were successful at making those changes; I know them personally. So, the questions are, What drives the process? and What does it take to come out as a winner?

Now let’s agree from the beginning that a career change involves significant risk. Not all career changes work out well. Decisions of this nature have at least two major components: the intellectual and the emotional. The emotional part involves the pain that a person endures and that strongly motivates and impels the person toward willingness to take a risk. The other component is the intellectual part, which involves, say, the person’s need–or desire–to make more money or the person’s disappointment with the industry, or with the nature of the current job, or with an intolerable boss who is apparently not leaving soon.

At the core of the job-changing decision-making process are three questions that require concrete answers:

  • What are the job-changing individual’s values?
  • What does the job-changing individual have to offer a potential employer?
  • What does the job-changing individual expect in return?

Values have to do with one’s feelings about family, recognition, monetary rewards, security, promotions, belonging, commitment, loyalty, and so forth. The answer to the question regarding what one has to offer will be an analysis of skills–such as marketing, presentation, sales, research, and data analysis–and then identification of whether one has the traits that support those skills: is the person aggressive, independent, articulate, persuasive, logical, visionary?

The remaining issue deals with what the person wants in return. This touches on environmental and cultural factors. For example, does the person like to work in small organizations or big ones? How does the person feel about leadership styles, corporate politics, company reputation, work/life balance, and flextime for new parents, for example? And how about critical matters like salary, health coverage, and investment programs versus the minimum levels of compensation and benefits needed?

As you can see, a career change is loaded with complexities. My advice is to consult someone who is equipped to guide you as you navigate this maze. And a challenging maze it is indeed.

3 Reasons Why LinkedIn is Important for Job Seekers

Alex Freund, The Landing Expert

LinkedIn helps job seekers

By definition, every job seeker is a seller of self. The recruiter and the hiring manager, on the other hand, are the buyers. Buyers are obligated to perform due diligence before making commitment to sellers. Now, I’m sure that you the reader do not stretch the truth, exaggerate the facts, or even occasionally lie on your résumé about certain facts, skills, or accomplishments, but I know that some others do. According to surveys such as Jobvite, 93% of recruiters use social media to check out candidates. A recruiter’s professional obligation is to make sure that résumés submitted to companies factually represent the job candidates. Otherwise, the recruiter’s credibility is on the line. Recruiters compare the content of candidates’ résumés with other facts they are able to find online. To make those comparisons, 94% use LinkedIn, 66% use Facebook, and 52% use Twitter. But what are they looking for?

  1. Validation of expertise and experience

Recruiters and hiring managers compare, for example, your skills, experience, and accomplishments—as stated in your résumé—with any evidence found regarding your participation in communications with others who belong to the same groups you do. If, for instance, you say you’re very qualified at the expert level, well, your claim should be evident elsewhere too. If you say you’re a leader who communicates well, then that should be apparent via your blog that is linked to your LinkedIn profile. Furthermore, recommendations validate your expertise, and endorsements speak specifically to your professional skills.

  1. Evidence of consistency between the resume and social media

The basic things a recruiter validates are the matching of dates of employment and names of employers. They also search for any gaps in titles, college graduation date, academic degrees, and so forth between your LinkedIn profile and your résumé. Even though it is advised that a résumé be tailored to the job being applied for and that your LinkedIn profile be more generic in nature, the basic information has to otherwise match, or the discrepancies will raise questions. Significant varying information between the two could cost you the opportunity to continue in the selection process for further review of your candidacy.

  1. Assertion of technological savvy

Those who have complete and attractive LinkedIn profiles affirm their understanding of the online business. Such profiles also serve as differentiators against more-mature people who, typically, are less savvy about new technology.

In summary

Online presence not only is helpful to the job seeker but also makes the recruiter’s job easier when it comes to the processing of your job application. In addition, candidates who are not perfectly honest about their professional backgrounds will come to regret the deceit because sooner or later, the truth will surface. A problem that some job seekers face is their posting of some information online years ago, at a time when such information was not important to them but it helped them impress their friends and peers at the time. That information may backfire now if found—even years and years later.

Networking with a purpose

Networking with a purpose

Networking is all about relationships

People in transition know that 60 to 80 percent of job seekers get their next positions through networking. Consequently and whenever possible, they focus their daily activities on such networking. But despite their—sometimes admittedly awkward—efforts, nothing comes of it. The reason is that they don’t have an understanding of the actual purpose of networking and how to turn it into interviews.

The purpose of networking is to cultivate relationships for advice, information, leads, and, hopefully, referrals. While it’s important to know others for this purpose, it’s equally important that those others know you. Most people are willing to network, but they have the right to expect you to (1) focus on specific companies and (2) demonstrate to them that networking is a give-and-take transaction, whereby they, too, may get from you in turn some industry intelligence.

For those who don’t know how to go about approaching a person for the purpose of networking, here’s a simple script that can be used either over the phone or via e-mail.

My name is Jane Jones. Our mutual acquaintance Stan Smith
suggested I give you a call [or send you an e-mail] because he feels
you’re an expert in [whichever] industry. Stan suggested
you might be of assistance to me. I’m currently in between jobs and looking for a role as a [insert title/position]. I don’t expect you to know
of an opening in this area, but perhaps you can share with me
your thoughts about ways I can find out who’s hiring.

The mechanics of a networking dialogue should have the following components. An initial rapport building to establish the relationship. An agenda for the purpose—and that consider how you, too, can add value. Try finding out whom the other person knows or what good contacts the person has. Another element is likability. You must develop your relationship on trust, integrity, and show of enthusiasm, motivation, and drive. Nobody enjoys a conversation with someone who’s depressed—with the possible exception of a psychologist!   And last, get engaged in the exchange, and try to feel comfortable asking for referrals. When you get them, make sure you keep your host in the loop.

If you follow these guidelines, it’s very likely that you’ll generate more interviews. In that event, make sure you’re well prepared. You don’t want to drop the ball once you’re so close to scoring.