Don’t Forget Small Talk During Your Next Job Interview

Want to stand apart from your competition during your next job interview? Employ your small talk skills, or develop some. New research suggests that building rapport quickly with your interviewer is a sure way to ace your job interview.

According to a recent study by Atlanta’s Georgia Institute of Technology, a first impression is often one of the most crucial factors in turning heads during a job interview.

The study consisted of 163 mock interviews, after which interviewers were asked to rate applicant competence. All interviews comprised of a segment for small talk followed by 12 job-related questions.

A general ability to converse with a stranger worked favorably for the applicants who excelled at the small talk portion of each interview. Even though many applicants scored similarly on the technical job-related questions, interviewers were much more likely to favor applicants who did well in both areas.

According to the study lead, Dr Brian Swider, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “An applicant’s ability to spark rapport seems to have a unique influence on whether he or she gets the job.”

Good people skills are becoming increasingly important in almost every job role. Applicants who excel at small talk indicate an overall penchant for relating well with others and carrying on conversations through the course of their work.

Finding common ground is an added benefit of small talk, as it opens the opportunity for applicants and interviewers to make a personal connection. This connection may place one applicant in a more favorable position if, say, he and his interviewer share an interest in the same sports team or collecting rare coins.

Humor, too, can set the interview off on the right foot. So before you head to your next interview, brush up those small talking skills with your partner, favorite barista or even your cat to make your first impression really stand out from other candidates.

LinkedIn’s Salary Calculator Has Potential For Useful Insights

LinkedIn recently launched a salary calculator that removes one of the hallmarks of the social media platform’s operating principles — identity — to bring users a tool that lets people submit/see anonymous salary information across various fields.

The calculator, LinkedIn Salary, is included in all premium memberships. It’s free for LinkedIn users who are willing to anonymously submit their base salaries and other compensation benefits, including bonuses and equity.

At the moment, users in the U.S., U.K., and Canada can view salary information based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Skills
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Size of the company
  • Location of the company
  • Industry

Over the next year, the salary calculator will be released in other countries, with the goal of helping “professionals around the world make better career decisions and optimize their earning potential now, and in the future,” LinkedIn notes on its official blog.

In addition to providing salary information, the calculator will also suggest different steps users can take that will help to optimize their earning potential. This could include learning new skills, furthering their education, or making career changes that could result in a difference in their earnings.

For example, LinkedIn shows that a registered nurse in greater New York City earns a median base salary of $80,000. That same position is paying a median base salary of $124,000 in the San Francisco Bay area. However, a registered nurse in greater New York can check out some of the local companies listed where the median base salary is greater than the region’s average. At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the median base salary is $103,000.

Aside from locations, LinkedIn notes that, for instance, marketing directors tend to get a higher salary increase after earning an MBA. The site also shows that sales representatives in healthcare are earning more than other sales representatives.

LinkedIn is trying to improve their user experience by pulling the positives from salary calculators run by competitors (such as Glassdoor and Payscale) and adding in more analytical/actionable elements.

Useful Ways To Follow Up On A Job Application

You’ve sent in your job application or resume, and have been anxiously checking your email or voicemail every day since, hoping to hear back from the potential employer.

The work that goes into filling out and submitting a job application can be tedious, time-consuming and stressful. Following up, the key to staying at the top of the hiring manager’s mind, is one more item on the list of things to do.

However, following up on your application doesn’t have to be a drain on your time. You don’t have to send a boring email asking the company to share the status of the position or letting them know that the purpose of your email is to follow up on your application.

If you consider this aspect of your application as a way to market yourself, along with your skills and experience, try approaching the situation from a new perspective.

Adding Value Through Job Application Follow-Up

Make your follow-up useful and different, by including information that will actually be of value. Here are some ideas to achieve this:

Send them information that you may have forgotten to share.

Many people have experiences talking to someone and then, hours later, remembering something that would have fit well in the conversation or been helpful to the other person. This also happens often in job interviews.

For example, the interviewer asks you about a few of your achievements and you forget to talk about 2 important ones.

Wait a few days before sharing the information, and if you haven’t heard anything, send over details of the 2 achievements.

Send an employer new information.

If you’ve earned any recognition or awards, published an article, or completed a significant project since you met with or spoke to your contact, consider sending the information to them.

Let them know the new experience you’ve gained, new skills you’ve learned or the honors you’ve received.

Send them an article.

Think about the communication you’ve had with your contact at the company, and if you see/find an article with information that you think would benefit the company’s growth or make an impact in their operations, send it to that individual.

The article will show your interest in their company and your understanding of their business.

Companies receive a ton of application follow-ups. Remember to not bombard them with follow-ups, and use the opportunity to add to your interview or conversation.

LinkedIn Tip: Let Recruiters Know You're Open To New Opportunities

Everyone knows that the secret to feeling happy and fulfilled in your career is to find a profession that you love.

Everyone also knows that, if you are not feeling happy, fulfilled or satisfied in your current job, then there is no easy way to let the world know that you’re open to new career opportunities, without worrying that your current employer will find out. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll end up having no job at all.

What if there was an easy way to search for another job while keeping your current one after all? Imagine if you could privately signal to job recruiters everywhere that you would like to hear from them, or that you’d like them to help you find new job opportunities elsewhere. By doing this, you increase your chances of having one of those special and magical moments when a job recruiter reaches out to you with an amazing opportunity for career advancement.

Luckily for you, you don’t have to imagine. It is now possible to privately signal to recruiters that you are open to new job opportunities without having to worry over angering your current employer or losing your current job.


Open Candidates

Open Candidates is responsible for making all of this possible. It is a new feature for LinkedIn that makes it easier to connect with recruiters who can land you a job by privately signaling to them that you are open to new job opportunities.

You can specify the types of companies or positions in which you are most interested. You will also be easier to find for recruiters who use LinkedIn.

Open Candidates can be found when you click the “Preferences” tab on the home page for LinkedIn Jobs. To enable this feature, all you have to do is simply turn on sharing and fill in some brief information about the types of companies and positions in which you are interested.

The next thing you know, you are making yourself available and known to recruiters who can help you find a job, while keeping everything private for your own security and peace of mind.

LinkedIn hides the Open Candidates signal from recruiters at your current company or affiliated companies so you won’t have to worry about your boss finding out that you are looking for new work.

Open Candidates is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia for desktop and mobile use, and it will soon be available worldwide. It is also important to note that before you change your preferences and enable Open Candidates, you should update your profile and make sure all of your information is polished and current.

Your Weight Can Reduce Your Chances Of Getting Hired

Whether it’s a spare tire or muffin top, the health impact of an extra five pounds has been well-publicized for years.

One little-mentioned consequence, though, could have an impact on your future career and earnings.

Recently,  a study was published by researchers from the University of Toronto and University of Strathclyde, who wanted more information about the discrimination experienced by individuals who are seeking employment.

Specifically, they wanted to know if the weight of a job seeker has any impact. Would being one size bigger lead to discrimination during the job search process?


What Researchers Did

They used data from 120 individuals — 60 men and 60 women — who were asked to become corporate recruiters for a day and charged with ranking the hire-ability of individuals based on photographs of potential employees.

These photos were of four women and four men, all of whom were white and straight-faced, to minimize chances of bias. Each candidate had the same qualifications listed on their resumes as well.

For each candidate, a few different snapshots were created though digital enhancement. Each snapshot showed the candidate at a different weight. The photos were edited with each subject’s appearance falling within healthy boundaries and none were considered medically obese.

weight job search hunt

To make a decision, the “recruiters” had to rate the likelihood of hiring the person in each snapshot based on a seven-point scale,with one being extremely unlikely and seven being extremely likely. They were shown the photos in random order.


What the Study Found

Consistently, the heavier version of the same person was less likely to be hired. For women, however, the disadvantage was much greater. Heavier women were judged more critically.

“Women within the normal BMI range appear to suffer greater weight-based bias than men,” researchers noted. “Even a marginal increase in weight appears to have a negative impact on the hireability ratings of female job applicants.”

Make It Easier For Employers To Find And Notice You On LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking site that can help you land the kind of job you’ve always wanted.

It can also be a frustrating experience when you create a profile and nothing much happens.

The thing to remember about LinkedIn is that you’re competing with thousands of people with similar profiles and job experience. Therefore, you need to take steps to ensure your profile cuts through the sea of eager prospects and catches the attention of hiring managers.

To be considered for a job focus on three goals: getting found in LinkedIn search, making a strong first impression and successfully receiving an invite from a hiring manager.


COME UP IN SEARCHES

Imagine being a busy hiring manager faced with the daunting task of weeding through tons of profiles in order to find the best matches for a particular job. It would take too long without shortcuts, which is why employers use targeted search terms to find qualified prospects that fit their criteria. There are two ways to get on the radar of employers and to get more traffic to your LinkedIn profile.

Use targeted keywords.

Targeted keywords are words and phrases commonly used in job descriptions and when searching for candidates. When a manager types specific keywords into the search box, they have instant access to all profiles using those words.

Your first step is to make a list of keywords that correlate with your target job titles, skills and experience. Then strategically insert those keywords into your profile.

For instance, managers seeking a customer service representative type “customer service” in the search box. Anyone seeking a job in this field must include “customer service” a number of times in their profile to have any chance of being found.

You can also include additional keywords related to your desired position. Customer service words, such as “communication,” “account,” and “database,” help managers zero in on qualified candidates.

Boost the number of contacts.

Remember that LinkedIn is a networking site. That means the more contacts you have, the higher your odds are of getting attention. If you have very little or no connections, quickly change this by growing your contact list.

One way to do gain contacts quickly is to import your address book into your account, and send a personalized invite to everyone you know.

Accepting invites you receive is another way to grow your network. Expect to get invites from people you don’t know, and it’s perfectly okay to add them because being in their network might open up an unexpected career opportunity.


MAKE A BIG IMPRESSION

Hiring managers have very little time to gather good candidates, so your profile has to make a great impression within the first few seconds.

There are a couple of things you can do to increase your chances of standing out from the pack.

Post an appealing photo.

Think of your profile photo as an opportunity to present a professional image to someone seeking the best employee. This is not a beauty contest nor a competition to find who can show off the best fake smile.

A photo is a chance to come across as likeable and a good fit for the employer’s work environment.

Take a look at this article, for research-backed tips to get the perfect profile photo.

Create a powerful headline.

Take time to compose a strong headline that is going to make a hiring manager stop and find out more about you.

Hiring managers look for people who can bring something significant to their work team.

Make your headline pop with a strong statement that includes relevant keyword. Something like “Customer Service Rep – Award Winning Communication & Client Management Skills” is eye-catching.


GET INVITED

Everything you do with your profile should lead to the invite for an interview. You’ve got the attention of a hiring manager, now your profile must be effective enough to get you across the finish line.

Keep it simple.

Hiring managers are super busy. When they scan your profile, they pick out key points of interest. They don’t have time to delve deeper into every sentence and bullet point you write. With this in mind, make your profile as simple as possible for managers to skim through and get a good sense of your skills and experience.

Create a power summary.

Some managers only read summaries, which is why you want to discard any fluff and make every word count. Create a strong opening sentence that reveals what makes you such a great candidate. Use follow-up sentences to back up the first sentence.

Clarify your experience.

The section that includes your job experience is going to be longer and more involved, and you should make sure all important information is easy to understand. Change odd job titles and awkward descriptions to something the average person understands.

Try This Approach To Find Your Dream Job

When looking for a job, we all have a dream company and job in mind. We also include a few back-up companies/jobs in our job search efforts, just in case Plan-A doesn’t materialize.

However, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and the University of Wisconsin-Madison believe that having a backup plan can actually derail your success rather than help you achieve your goals.

After studying how people reacted to certain scenarios, their research shows that a safety net may actually decrease your motivation for reaching your highest potential.


THE STUDY

Jihae Shin, assistant professor of management at UW, along with professor Karen Milkman of UPenn, surmised that a backup plan may cause someone to work less hard in obtaining a goal.

The two researchers set out to find out if this hypothesis rang true by setting up an experiment with hundreds of people divided into two groups.

In one group, respondents were given a test to unscramble sentences. Those who did well could leave early or get a free snack.

Researchers added one aspect to a second group of people. The second group was told to also come up with ideas about how to get free food or how to make up any lost time later in the day, if they didn’t unscramble the sentences quick enough.


AGAINST COMMON PRACTICE

What the researchers found went against the notion that successful people always had backup plans in case something went awry.

People in the experiment who made backup plans fared worse on the unscrambling tasks.

Shin and Milkman discovered, through follow-up questions after the experiment, that the lack of accomplishment from people who had backup plans was partly due to a diminished drive to succeed.

Failure is associated with negative emotions. These are important for pushing us to succeed, in order to avoid the consequences of failure. When you have a back-up plan in place, the emotional safety net can reduce the desire to achieve your goals and succeed.


DRIVE VERSUS SAFETY NET

Whereas a backup plan may make you feel safe and reduce negative emotions associated with failure, a safety net could interfere with accomplishing your primary goal.

Security makes you feel better, but it might diminish your desire and drive for what you really want to achieve.

For example, you may settle for a job at a less well-known company because you already have a connection there versus reaching for a loftier objective at a prestigious firm where you don’t know anyone.

Fortunately, the researchers have a solution.


HOW TO ACHIEVE PLAN A FIRST

Shin and Milkman explain that you should rely on a backup plan only after you exhaust all possibilities for earning your original goal.

Many times, people may fall back on Plan B prematurely when they are already close to finishing Plan A.

Figuring when to switch gears means you should know yourself, determine what it takes to realize your objectives, and recognize when you can’t do any more.


What you do during your job search, does depend on your specific situation. However, it might be worth considering and incorporating the findings of this research into your job search.

Before spreading your efforts across Plans A, B and C, perhaps you should give Plan A everything you got first. It could make the difference between getting your dream job and having to settle for something less inspiring.

Having said that, to find your dream job it is essential that you go about the search in the perfect way. Take a look at our free guides to help with this.

4 online tools to prepare and spruce up your resume

Whether you’re looking to prepare a resume from scratch or improve on your existing document, here are four great tools to make the process easier.


ResumUp makes it possible to use the information from your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, to create an infographic. This will consist of your achievements, skills, your key values, and work history.

The tool also has a feature to include a bit about your personality type.

You are then able to share the information and graphics with potential employers by downloading it in PNG or PDF form.


Creddle is a free site that can be used to create your resume.

A document is created from your personal information that is either synced from your LinkedIn profile or entered manually.

They offer 9 different templates which provide a choice of header, lets you add color, and change the order of your resume sections at will.

Once complete, it can be downloaded as a PDF or DOCX file, embedded on your personal website, or printed.

Creddle may also be used to create a cover letter to support your resume.


By using Vizualize.me, you are able to use the data within your LinkedIn profile to create a unique visualization displaying your personal achievements.

You are given a selection of 6 different style themes and several color schemes and fonts to create your resume. You can highlight years of experience and other numbers by using the “My Stats” section.

Vizualize.me is free and can be shared as a link, or downloaded in PDF or PNG form.


Similar to the other sites, VisualCV is a service that builds your resume through the data contained in your LinkedIn profile.

You then select a design, add presentations or other multimedia, such as embedded videos or images, and the tool allows you to publish to a public URL, export a PDF, or share via a link.

Work life balance: How to find out if an employer values it as much as you?

It’s finally time.

You are ready to begin your search for a new job.

And hopefully you’ll have some interviews and job offers soon.

During previous interviews, you might have felt as if it were a mistake to mention the possibility of occasionally missing work to tend to family matters. The mere mention of work life balance or time off, seemed to turn the interview in a bad direction.

Even though you weren’t hired for those jobs, you felt lucky.

How comfortable would you have been working there? How could it have affected your family?

Consequently, your question becomes: How can I find an employer who understands the importance of life outside of work and the obligations of my home life? An employer who’s on the same page as me, on these matters.

Here are a few ways to help you research a company and find answers to those questions.


Word of Mouth

Perhaps the easiest method for obtaining employer information is to ask your friends, family, or current associates.

Often times they, or someone they know, will have a story, positive or negative, regarding a current or past employer.

Understand that such stories must be taken as anecdotal, but the information may lead you to investigate further before you commit to an employer.


Job Sites

Until recently, there weren’t many tools available to help a prospective employee find the right employer.

As more information becomes available on the internet, finding information about the working atmosphere of a company is readily available.

When using job sites/boards (such as Monster, Indeed, CareerBuilder), you will often find links to employer ratings and comments.

Indeed.com, for example, has links for reviews and learning what it’s like to work for a company, shown next to many job advertisements.

reviews of working at singtel singapore

company reviews asia


Employer Satisfaction Information

In addition to job sites, databases regarding workplace atmosphere are now available.

For instance, Glassdoor.com has extensive employee reviews detailing workplace atmosphere, job position satisfaction, and potential salaries.

There are also sites available that detail workplace conditions for women (Maybrooks, Fairygodboss), using the perspective of females in a particular position or experience.


What Do You See and Feel?

You can also put your detective hat on and observe what’s happening at the company.

If you see a mostly empty office when you arrive for your 6pm interview, it can be a sign that late work hours aren’t always required.

Do you see family photos on the desks? That may be a sign that the atmosphere is a comfortable, relaxed place to work, and that the company is at least somewhat committed to their employees and their families.

Many modern businesses take pride in their family-friendliness. If the interview process does not include information about a company’s policies regarding family leave, or days off built into the system, that’s probably something to take note of. Lack of a focus on such policies may be a sign of other issues that might arise in their employ. Keep looking.


We all want to find the perfect job. So many facets of your life can be affected by the way you feel about your work, good or bad.

With a little diligence it is possible to find the employer that will see you as more than just an employee, but as a member of a family, yours and theirs.

5 tips to get your profile noticed on LinkedIn

Donna Serdula, author and speaker, specializes in the topics of job hunting, LinkedIn and executive branding.

In this video she shares 5 tips for getting your professional profile noticed on LinkedIn. Have a look at the video or read on for the highlights.



1: Make your profile sensitive to the LinkedIn Search Engine Ranking by taking advantage of the Headline, Summary, and Job Title sections of your profile.

These are the sections that are going to be most prominent when people search for people/businesses on LinkedIn.

Make your profile easy to find for people who don’t know your name, by wisely filling these sections with relevant keywords and information.

That way, when people search for businesses/people to accommodate their needs, your profile will not only be more visible, but also more appealing.


2: Add a Benefit Statement.

Give people a bit of an extra incentive to click on your profile.

Tell them what makes you unique and what impact you can make.

Make your profile as appealing as possible in a short space, so that people want to click and learn more.


3: Actively Post Content.

Keep people updated on what you’re doing. Post relevant content and updates.

Keep your profile in their feeds, so if an opportunity does come up wherein your skills or services would be beneficial, your profile will come to mind and they will give you a call.

The content you post doesn’t even necessarily have to be content you created. Sharing articles and relevant stories will keep you in the back of people’s minds.


4: View Other People’s Profiles.

On LinkedIn anyone whose profile you view, will see that you viewed them and might be interested enough to check out yours.

This is a simple way to get your name out there and make people notice you.

Use this feature to your advantage.

Stay active, show an interest in other’s work and they will most likely show an interest in yours.


5: Give Recommendations.

Don’t just ask for recommendations, show that you want to actively help others and give recommendations to benefit them as well.

When people come across the opportunity to give a recommendation to someone, the person who gave them a recommendation is going to seem to be the more appealing choice.

It’s a symbiotic relationship, concern yourself with helping people in every way that you can and it will come back around.

Job Hunting In the Digital Age: Reputation, Resumes & Video Interviews [Infographic]

Anything and everything you do online leaves a digital footprint that employers can follow to determine whether or not you’d make a suitable employee.

For that matter, admissions officials might be interested in checking out your online presence — pictures and forum comments — before deciding if you warrant a letter of acceptance.

Fortunately, there’s a way that you can build a good online presence in this digital age. Learning the ins and outs of doing so is important because your online reputation counts for a lot.

What follows, therefore, is a primer on job hunting in the digital age, and how reputation, resumes and video interviews can help you succeed inside and outside of the classroom.


Reputation Matters

Building a strong online reputation is more important than you might think, particularly when you consider the following statistics:

  • 75% of recruiters will conduct research online to learn about applicants
  • 70% of recruiters have turned down applicants based on what they discovered online

Whether you’re a student pursuing an advanced degree or a graduate looking for work or an experienced professional, a LinkedIn account is a must. You can use it not only to market yourself online, but also to look for career opportunities or for network-building opportunities.

When you consider that 89% of all recruiters have hired someone through LinkedIn and that a mere 36% of job seekers are active on LinkedIn, it becomes clear that a presence on the popular social networking site is a good idea.

LinkedIn will help you to establish a strong online reputation, but there are other things that you need to keep in mind such as the difference between private and public profiles. For the former, you need to ensure that you restrict who can access them, get rid of any inappropriate photos or comments, and refrain for using your real name for your username. For the latter, you need to create separate accounts with your real name as the username and post industry-specific content.


Video Resume

In this digital age, you definitely need a video resume. Around nine in 10 resumes are presented in the traditional format, so going with a video resume can instantly differentiate you from the crowd.

As for programs you can use to create your own video resume, the following are three options:

  1. YouTube
  2. Vine
  3. Vimeo

Video Interview

You need to take a video interview as seriously as you would an in-person interview. Consider that 33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds if they are going to hire a candidate, 53% of surveyed HR managers say that they use video interviews quite often, and 13% of hiring managers plan to use video interviews even more.

As empowering as the Internet can be if used correctly, it can hurt your career plans if your digital trail leads to anything questionable. So establish a good online reputation, showcase your video resume and prepare yourself for video interviews in order to bolster your job prospects.


search job hunting online digital social asia

‘Weak ties’ are more likely to get you a job

Job searching is not what it used to be.

If it has been a few years since you have needed to actively look for a job, you might not be aware of all the possibilities and options available.

Job boards and newspaper classifieds may still have a few benefits and resources, but they no longer play as significant of a role.

A proper digital presence and social media, especially LinkedIn, are now the best way to approach today’s job market.

Although LinkedIn is growing daily in popularity, very rarely is it used to its full potential. Most people use it as just another job board, which defeats it’s purpose entirely.

When used properly, LinkedIn has the ability to place your resume on top of any employer’s stack of applicants.

The main benefits of LinkedIn are:

  1. Easier networking and contact management.
  2. Having access to people in employer companies directly (i.e. being able to bypass recruiters and job boards).
  3. Making use of ‘weak ties’ which are a very effective for job search purposes.

Let’s look into the usefulness of weak ties for your job search.

Connections with colleagues, close friends, and family members are great. You should certainly use these ‘strong ties’ in order to get your next job.

However, according to a study completed by sociologist Mark Granovetter, you are 58% more likely to land a job through the people in your life who you are not that close to.

Such people, who Professor Adam Grant (Wharton School) calls weak or dormant ties, are “people with whom you’ve lost touch for a few years: a childhood neighbor, a college roommate, or a colleague from your first job.”

LinkedIn makes it very easy to find, connect with and cultivate these people during your job search.

Through the years of drifting apart, they have established different connections and developed new friendships with people you probably do not know. They provide an expanded set of opportunities that are not available through your close friends and family members, who have the same general social circles you do.

So the next time you get a LinkedIn request from someone from a distant past, or someone who you don’t know too well, think twice before ignoring it. The power of LinkedIn is in it’s network. You have access to your connections, as well as people in their network, and their network’s network.

For best practices to use LinkedIn during your job search with strong and weak ties, take a look at some of our articles and also the Networking/LinkedIn section of our job search guide.