Tagged: LinkedIn

Difference Between The Best Candidate and Best Hire

If you’ve read my posts in the past, you will be familiar with my advice on being the candidate who is hired: It is the one who is most knowledgeable about the job, company and industry, the candidate who matches the company culture and the one with the deepest success rate in the area that the company needs the most help.

Below is a link to an article by Lou Adler that backs up my advice with a stats and a great graphic.  Interestingly, Adler’s target audience is hiring managers.  He points out that the typical sequence in an interview identifies the best candidate, not the best hire.


For those of us on the other side of the interview desk, Adler shows an opening for proving our value by answering questions that go beyond the basic benchmarks.  We must show that we can collaborate, lead a team, mentor, prioritize, manage time and money as well as having a pretty face.

When asked about our track record, we must include the how as well as the stats.  If we show that we succeeded by performing specific team-building functions or  by co-incidentally reducing both time on task and costs, we show the qualities that make us the best hire as well as the best-performing candidate.

The difference between a manager and a leader is the ability leaders have for helping others move forward, promoting the whole team, while accomplishing goals.  Employers want managers but also need leaders.  Lets show the hiring manager that we are both!

Strut your stuff!  Lets work on you profile so that you are ready when opportunity knocks! 610-212-6679 stephanie@accessguidance.com



15 Vital Leadership Lessons

Rather than tweet the link to this article from LinkedIn, I’m putting it in a blog post so that more readers will be able to access the information.

You’ll find that Bernard Marr has created a list that modernizes the ingredients of Everything I Needed To Know I learned in Kindergarten and formulated a list applicable to everyone who works, volunteers or hopes to do either.

Enjoy and make sure this shoe fits well enough to wear it.


5 Career Lessons I Wish I’d Had When I Was 22.

Here’s an article from LinkedIn that every undergraduate student and every recent college grad should read.

Sara Sutton Fell     May 5, 2014

I live in a college town, and besides just busy restaurants and more traffic, this time of year is chock-full of college graduations, commencement speeches, and lessons for young professionals just embarking on their careers. I thought back to when I was that age and what advice I wish I had been given — and listened to — that would’ve saved me a lot of stress-related headaches and self-doubt. As part of LinkedIn’s #IfIWere22 series, here are five lessons for my 22-year-old self. (Hopefully they’ll help someone else starting their career and interested in saving themselves some career-related agony!)

Common sense is more important than an MBA.

While an MBA can be useful, it is not a requirement to be successful in business. However, I believe that common sense is. I started my first business when I was 21, with a childhood friend who was also 21– and honestly, we both looked like we were about 16. We had no business experience whatsoever and obviously no MBAs, but we were incredibly driven and passionate about our idea. In an effort to learn from others’ experiences, we actively built a group of advisers who were older, had MBAs, and who were impressively experienced. But our company was an internet company in the dawn of the new economy, and while the advice was well-meaning and came across with confidence and levity, it simply wasn’t as applicable, and they didn’t understand the audience and product nearly as well as we did. Because we were young and lacking professional depth, we didn’t give these two factors enough credit, and too often we were swayed from our instincts by people who we thought were smarter just because of their MBAs. Bottom line, always be open to learn from people who might have more knowledge or experience than you, but don’t sacrifice your common sense for it.

Each and every job will teach you something about what you want to do (or not to).

No matter how bleak or pointless a job might seem, there is actually always a valuable takeaway… it just might not be what you expect. The boss you hate? Well, you might realize that you never want to be a manager like that. The soul-sucking job hawking a crappy product? It might be horrible, but you might learn some amazing marketing tactics that you will use down the line to get national awareness for a product you do believe. Regardless of your job and whether you love it or hate it (or vacillate in between), look for opportunities to learn about what you like and don’t like. These lessons will help you design your career in a way that makes you happy and proud.

Your career path is almost certainly going to be more of a meandering river than a straight path.

You will move backwards, forwards, sideways. There will be jobs that on the outside promise to be a ticket to the top, but instead that end up leaving you laid off when you are seven months pregnant, wondering how the heck you got there (as I did). You might take a job that seems like a step (or more) backwards in your career, but because you are such a high-performer you are offered an unexpectedly awesome skyrocket to the top within a few years (as I was). You might find that you want to switch careers entirely. So try to remember to ride each unexpected twist and turn, take it all for what it’s worth, and try not to stress too much that your career path isn’t as straight as you expected it to be.

Networking just to network can be more distracting than helpful.

We’ve all heard it’s about “who you know”, blah, blah, blah. And I get that, BUT. Be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that quantity is more important than quality. While I admit it’s cool to see the “500+ connections” indicator on someone’s LinkedIn profile, if all of those 500 are strangers or low-grade acquaintances, you’ll be missing the real opportunities that networking really provides. So be sure to seek out substantive professional relationships (mentors, trusted colleagues, people in your company you admire, friends and family, or just people you respect). Keep regular communication with them, and engage them in real conversations. It’s not to say that general casual networking can’t be helpful–it can!–but don’t let it be your only goal. Because those deeper, “real” connections are like investments that will yield better and better results over time, on both a professional and a trusted personal level.

Place high value on company culture.

There are a lot of bells and whistles that companies may advertise as why you want to work there, but no matter what industry you’re in, the culture where you work is vitally important. Is there a ton of turnover? Do colleagues often have advancement opportunities? Do people enjoy working there? What the company values and identifies as important to them will impact you every single day. , also don’t rely on it exclusively. Supplement the information they’ve provided by researching people who work for the company (ideally in a related department) on LinkedIn, see if you have any connections, and ask them for an informational interview. Or use sites like Glassdoor to read reviews of companies from the employees themselves. And in job interviews, always ask specific questions about the culture. Always. You are going to invest a huge amount of your time and energy into this place. Make sure it’s a worthwhile investment.


Sara Sutton Fell is an expert in the online employment market and is currently the Founder and CEO of FlexJobs, an award-winning career website for telecommuting and flexible job listings. Sara is the Founder of 1 Million for Work Flexibility, an initiative to help positive change towards flexible options in the workplace.


5 Creative Ways to Show Off Your Skills To Future Employers

I love this article by Erin Greenawald, posted on The Muse.  You don’t have to be a design genius or art major to use her suggestions!


5 Creative Ways to Show Off Your Skills to Future Employers

1. Show Off Logos

This is a quick and dirty way to make your site a little more visual. Instead of just writing about clients you worked with, use their logos to add a little visual interest.

If you’re in sales, you can use this to highlight major clients you sold to (as long as there’s nothing proprietary or prohibited by your employer). In marketing, think about companies you organized partnerships with. If you’re in business or finance, maybe there is a slew of companies you have consulted for. Or, if you’re a writer or speaker, include the logos of publications or conferences you’ve contributed to.

Whatever it may be for your industry, if you have more than three or four compelling, recognizable logos to show off, do it!

Like designer Anthony Wiktor, you could create a grid of logos that link to pop-ups or another page describing in a little more detail the work you did with that company.


2. Create a Narrative With Photos

Just because you don’t have pictures of your work doesn’t mean you can’t find pictures that represent the work you do.

Think about ways you can incorporate general imagery as you explain what you do or describe projects you’ve worked on. Maybe you work in HR and are talking about a project you did to improve team culture. Could you include a picture of your team looking happy or a stock photo of a team gathered around? Or if you work in operations and are describing a new process you implemented, could you find a general photo of people brainstorming to visually represent the hard work you put in? Even if the picture isn’t actually of you or the specific work you did, a person reading your site will be able to connect the idea of the picture with what you did—and are much more likely to remember it.

Designer Bo Kristensen does a nice job of this in telling the story of how he got to where he is today—a tactic anyone in any industry could use.

3. Show Your Skills With Icons

If photos don’t feel quite right for you, you can accomplish a similar goal with icons. For each of the skills you want to describe on your site, find a simple little icon that represents it. For communication skills, you might find an email icon or a microphone. For amazing sales capabilities, you might find an upward-trending graph. For product development, you might look for a light bulb (for ideas) or a gear.

Kristensen does a great job of this on his site as well, even throwing a little about his personality into the mix.

4. Share Information With Charts or Infographics

Speaking of data, why not actually create some graphs or charts with data related to your work to add a visual element to your site?

If you work in a more analytical or numbers-oriented field, this is a great route for you, but even if you don’t, there’s still data you can show off! Check out Lily Zhang’s advice on quantifying your work—even when you don’t work with numbers. The key is to not overwhelm with charts. Just pick a few that represent you the best and are most impressive, and make sure they’re visually consistent so they look good together on your site. Check out a great example on developer Ana Enders’ site.

Or, you could take it a step further and create a whole infographic about yourself to embed on your site! We promise, you don’t have to be a designer to do it: Vengage has a drag-and-drop infographic builder, and Infogr.am allows you to easily build interactive infographics. (Check out a quick example with totally made-up data here.) And Rachel Gillett has some great tips on thinking through creating an infographic resume. Designer Deidre “Deda” Bain has an amazing and personality-filled one on her site—even though she’s a designer, you can definitely get inspiration from it!

5. Try Smart Typography

Sometimes there just really isn’t any imagery that makes sense. And in that case, to make your site more visually engaging, try getting creative with the typography.

Think of ways you can use colors, italics, or different fonts to pull out elements of your skills or experience. The easiest way to do this is to create an image using Photoshop (or a similar free service) and then embedding it on your site.

Designer and editor Allen Tan gives us a great, simple example. It’s just text, but it’s lovely to look at and in just a matter of seconds gives us an idea of who he is.

Working in a non-visual job doesn’t have to stop you from creating a visually beautiful website. A picture says a thousand words, and everybody has a story to tell. You just might have to get a little creative in figuring out how to tell yours.

These are terrific ideas that you can use to on your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook personal page or business page. Try one and in a month add another to keep your information fresh. 

I’m happy to help you curate the material you’re considering for inclusion.  Call me! 610-212-6679 or stephanie@accessguidance.com


When and How to Make Your Own Opportunities

Build Your Future

This post is for college students seeking an internship, anyone looking for a job, including experienced workers and those out of work.

When no jobs in your field present themselves and no one appears to be looking for new talent, would-be new hires can give up or they can create a job opening for themselves.

Self- creating jobs isn’t for sissies; if you’re not willing to commit, read no further.  Readers who are seriously on the hunt will benefit from these suggestions.

Work your network.  You want to get into pharmaceutical sales?  Look for sales managers, HR personnel, executives at pharma companies and get in touch.  They may not have an opening now but expressing interest (and keeping in touch) puts you at the head of the queue when an opening occurs.  Its possible that there is an unadvertised opening or one coming up soon and you will be top-of-mind. Use LinkedIn and your other resources to locate your targets.

Cast a wide net to capture the most possibilities.  A past client had moved from one city to another and needed a job.  She canvassed local universities looking for a research position without much luck.   One university recognized her value and established a position for her to compile data, write and publish previous and new studies.  She now has several publications on her resume as well as 2 years of experience to propel her to her next opportunity.

It goes without saying that knowing what is going on in the industry creates an opening to show how you are perfect for the company. If you detect a shift in your chosen field, be certain that you acquire the background needed to meet the new challenges before they become imminent.  Use your downtime between jobs or projects to broaden your knowledge base.

When you think your connection might be interested in you sometime in the future you can ask to be an intern now to get experience.  College grads, I can hear you moan but hear me out.  You can be unemployed and watching reality tv or you can be unemployed and gaining experience.  An internship can make you poachable.

For readers who have extensive experience, an internship is a chance to try out a new role or company.  You can show the many ways your accomplishments can become benefits for a new employer or new division of your current company.

Don’t sit back and wait for your employment prospects to improve.  When you knock on doors you are seen as confident, mature, skilled and as someone who attacks problems (in this case, unemployment).   All good things.   Asking for a job and showing how you can solve a problem, maybe one they didn’t recognize they have, make you the go-to person when funds to hire are available or someone leaves the company.

Show the world you’re already a star and that some lucky company will get to hire you!

Lets talk about how to approach connections and what your pitch should sound like.  Practice will give you confidence! stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679



Bypass Applicant Tracking Systems Using LinkedIn

Perhaps you’ve sent resumes and never heard a word.  The reason may be the applicant tracking systems that many companies use to sort through the piles of applications.

Truth is, most jobs are filled by someone already among the hiring manager’s connections or by a candidate referred by one of the connections.

Avoid sending blind resumes into the jaws of an applicant tracking system, use your LinkedIn account to place yourself on the radar of the hiring manger before you apply for a position.

  1. Do some sleuthing.  Find a few companies in the industry you are in or the type of business that want to work for.   At those companies, identify 10 or more people who have job titles or positions similar to those you want.  Find them using the search box on LinkedIn.
  2. Look at the profiles of the names that appear; choose some to connect with by clicking the connect button.  There is an option to customize the  invitation  using “add a note”.  Personalize your invitation like this:   “I’m exploring careers in (advertising sales to companies that sell green products). I’m contacting (sales executives) in (print marketing) to get advice from people who are on the front lines to see if this is a good fit for my goals and experience.”
  3. When you have secured a connection begin an inmail correspondence, commenting on items in the contact’s profile or asking questions.  Invite your contact for coffee .  Most people will agree to a brief meeting during which you can ask about their job.   Your  coffee invitation should mirror your original connection out-reach.  “May I buy you coffee one day next week?  I’d like to find out more about your work and (name of the company they work for)?”  Occasionally, you will want to speak with a person who isn’t local; extend an invitation this way.”May I join you for coffee via a zoom conference one morning next week?  I’d like to learn more about your job and (company name).
  4. Pay attention to more than our contact’s job description and title.  Strong connections can be made with graduates of your alma mater, home town, those who share an interest or passion.
  5. Remember to add value to your contact.  Share a link to an article they might read, a new book on a mutual interest, offer an introduction to a LinkedIn connection or someone you do business with.

Why bother growing your network on LinkedIn?  Most successful candidates come from among people known to the person doing the hiring.   The more people you know, the more jobs become available to you.

Finding networking challenging?  For a list of networking tips, send me an email at stephanie@accessguidance.com.

Job Boards Aren’t Helpful To Most Seekers

Says who?

Says Art Campbell, of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce (NJ).  Art points out that 54% of businesses have 5 or fewer employees and 83% have 19 or fewer employees.   These employers  have no HR department because the owner or manager is the person who selects new employees.

Small businesses hire differently from the 2% that employ 100 or more people.  The owners of  small companies are most likely to ask the senior staffer or most trusted one if s/he knows someone who can fill an open position.  They ask colleagues and they look for candidates on LinkedIn.

Open jobs never make it to the newspaper or the job boards because they are filled quickly by someone in their network.

If you are looking to move over or move on, need your first opportunity or are thinking about changing career directions, you need to fortify your network.   Revise your LinkedIn profile to include recent achievements and training.  Expand your connections.  Attend networking events.  If you aren’t visible, you aren’t going to be hired.

Consider larger firms and corporations that post multiple positions on job boards.   From  among the hundreds of  responses, the HR department uses a filtering system to find resumes with the closest fit to the experience and qualifications of each job.  Applicant Tracking Systems are only as good as the person who uploads the job description but who may not have first hand knowledge of what is needed. Batches of resumes are run through the ATS which selects 25 resumes to be hand read.  From the 25,  5 are chosen for interviews and one of the 5 will be hired.  Using keywords does not automatically make an individual the best person for a job; the best candidate may go unrecognized.

Lets look at another scenario.   Matt knows that YouRit is hiring programmers.  His former colleague, Krista, works there.  Matt calls Krista and over coffee he asks if she would recommend him for the job.  She passes his resume on to HR who adds his name to the interview list because he has been pre-screened by Krista.

Had Matt sent in a resume without a sponsor it is likely to have gone to the virtual dustbin marked “Disapproved” or “Disqualified”.  Not only does Matt not get this job, but if he applies again he already has a black mark next to his name which will automatically keep him out of contention.

When hiring, most people will choose the candidate who is the best fit with the company culture over the one with the more impressive resume.  To be that person, take time to understand the company and the business problems and reach out confidently.  Its the personal touch that makes the difference.

Lets talk about your best job search strategy.  Stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679



How to Be Noticed By Hiring Managers and Recruiters

To get hired you need to a blip on the radar of the person responsible for filling the marketing-or-negotiating-942991_640position.  If she or he doesn’t know about you, you haven’t a chance to sell yourself.

Raise your visibility.

You can do this on line through social media. Having a LinkedIn profile that you regularly update gives professionals a way to see who you are.  Add training and skills as you acquire them including current projects.  Facebook, if done in a professional manner, could be another plus.

Quote, tweet or re-tweet articles or comments by others in the industry.  Use keywords where relevant.

Show your proficiency

Answer questions on question boards like Quora.  Post on blogs related to your specialization or create your own on a topic of interest in your industry of profession.

Tweet links to anything you’ve published or highlights of your project findings. If you are in college you can quote your research or papers.


finger-on-net1648573_640Join professional organizations. Submit papers to journals. Attend conferences where  you can meet significant individuals and recruiters.

Join Meet-Ups or networking groups.  Local organizations don’t need to be industry specific.

College job fairs can lead to connections with human resources people.  Stay in touch with them to remain top-of-mind.

Develop your brand

Your brand is the tag line that identifies the problem you solve.  For instance, a personal organizer might be a Closet Magician.  Create an elevator pitch and business cards that showcase your brand.

Be ready to answer when someone asks what you do: “I’m a closet magician who makes the clutter disappear and your favorite outfits come to life.”

It is reported that 85% of recruiters find their new hires on social media and through connections.  Make sure you’re present and hire-able in the places where hiring managers are looking.

Need help raising your visibility to hiring managers?  I can help you hone your personal marketing approach.  Stepahnie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.


How to Start Your Career Above the Mailroom

There is plenty of evidence that internships are door openers to jobs. The following article by Edward S. Brown offers other ways to get your accomplishments in front of those who are hiring..

How College Graduates Can Enter Their Professions on Top
Edward S. Brown, M.S. 6/27/16 Linkedin

The best way graduates can show prospective employers that they have the necessary skills to succeed is by building their own body of work.

First, determine the pain points that currently exist within a given profession. Every forbes-924140_640profession and industry has some problems that need to be solved. By reading periodicals and leading industry magazines, students can become aware of the challenges within a profession and begin documenting possible solutions. This serves as a conduit for establishing intellectual property that creates an advantage against competition for limited internship opportunities, as well as scarce job openings.

Second, use different formats to document solutions. Articles, books, podcasts, and videos are excellent ways of establishing a track record. In fact, what better way to connect with decision-makers than to interview them for independent research and forward the findings to them for consideration? By acting like leaders within an industry independently, students are demonstrating that they are “movers and shakers” who don’t wait around for opportunities, they actually create them.

tablet-1758352_640Finally, use social media platforms to publish works, particularly in industry-related LinkedIn groups. Social media allows students to broadcast industry solutions directly to the individuals most affected. The beauty of social media is that students only need one influencer to recognize the value of their offerings to gain traction.
In a changing world, students can lament about how their future isn’t as bright as past generations, or they can make their future brighter by creating their own sunlight.

Identifying pain points and speaking to them are a challenge.  Lets work together to find the stepping stones in your career path.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.

Using Social Media To Your Advantage

Where is Waldo?
Where is Waldo?

Did you know that your social media accounts like Facebook can help you reach goals?  By curating the information and photos you post you can help or hinder your acquisition of a job or scholarship.



Listen to the podcast to learn more.

Profile management is a critical endeavor for anyone who is a student, who works or eventually wants to be employed.  Use social media as a marketing tool to stay top-of-mind, highlight accomplishments and new skills.

Access College and Career consultants will help you make the most of your online presence as one of our services to clients who are ready to move up or move on.  Call or text 610-212-6679 to see how we can help you.