5 Tips for Staying Organized During Your Job Search

There is little question that an effective, and often successful, job search is an organized one.  Those who have been navigating the job market for any length of time will truly understand the magnitude of what goes into a well-functioning job search.

Furthermore, now that the ability to acquire and track essential information is utterly at our fingertips, employers naturally expect job candidates to display a new level of awareness, knowledge, and reliability.  This, in turn, adds another layer of complexity beyond simply maintaining a list of names, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Order Or Chaos Keys Shows Either Organized Or Unorganized

With this in mind, we will explore some practical ways for hopeful candidates to sustain an organized and successful job search process.

  1. Designate Your Workstation – An organized space is conducive to an organized mind. Creating a specific area where you can peacefully search and apply for jobs online, make phone calls, and check email is an important part of maintaining an orderly job search.  Be sure your workstation is free of unrelated items, such as books, bills, and other random papers which could become mixed up with your job-related materials.  Consider investing in an inexpensive desk organizer to keep your supplies in order and reduce distraction.
  2. Create a Table/Spreadsheet – While this may seem like simple advice, it is very easy to become lost in a sea of barely legible paper scraps during a hectic job search.  Notes jotted down during online searches and important phone calls can be easily misplaced or misfiled.  However, a creating a spreadsheet or table with a suitable software program can eliminate the risk of losing important information. To keep your data separate and organized, Rae Sanders, Team Leader and Principal Staffing Manager at WynterWyman, suggests creating functional columns in your spreadsheet; such as Company, Contact Name, Email/Phone, Application Date, Interview Date/Time, Follow-Up Date(s), and Application Status. We recommend also adding sections for important keywords and – based upon your own research – essential facts about the company that would be useful during an interview.
  3. Use a Multi-Subject Notebook – If perhaps, you are not comfortable with a computerized spreadsheet, there is nothing wrong with keeping written records of your job search the old fashion way, with an organized notebook. To avoid confusion, just remember to make sure the notebook isn’t used for any other purpose.  We suggest opting for a larger multi-subject notebook with built-in tabs to help you stay extra organized.  Anna Runyan, CEO and Founder of the Forbes’ renowned website, Classy Career Girl, also recommends allocating sections of your notebook for drafting cover letters, taking notes during interviews, networking, as well as keeping track of your applications and interview appointments.
  4. Make Your Smartphone Work for You – If you’ve been searching for a new job, chances are you’ve already been habitually checking your Smartphone for important messages.  Why not, then, make use of the myriad of Smartphone applications that can help you, not only stay organized, but never miss an appointment? The simplest of apps – the calendar — should actually have already been loaded on your device when you received it.  Entering all appointments into your calendar, as well as vital alert settings, will ensure that you never double-book, miss, or are late for an interview or meeting.  To take things a step further, research the plethora of job search-related organizational apps that are available, such as the highly recommended, JibberJobber, which acts as a virtual dashboard for your career search.  With this particular app, you can upload and import the entirety of your job search materials, including your resume, notes, and email; managing them all from one convenient location.
  5. Phone Call Preparation – In our mobile world, there is a strong chance that your next important phone call will arrive at a time when you are away from your workstation.  As organized as your job search may have been up until this point, you can still feel quite frenzied when trying to accurately grasp important information while in a public place or crowded area. The best advice is to be prepared by keeping your cell phone fully charged and have writing materials handy at all times.  Consider purchasing a portable phone charger for your car, and most definitely keep a travel-sized notepad and pen in your pocket or handbag, should you need to safely pull over to take a phone call.  If you happen to be in a noisy environment at the time of the call, do your best to move to a quieter space.  If you absolutely cannot leave your location, at least be sure to write down the correct contact information until you reach a destination where you can speak properly with the caller.


Working on laptop


A great portion of staying organized is remaining mindful and alert.  Taking these five guidelines into account will not only keep your own job search on track, but will likely allow you to stand out to hiring managers as a well thought-out, sensible job candidate.

Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

8 Ways to a Stress-Free Job Search

The word “stress”, in and of itself, almost always has a negative connotation.  Our physicians even tell us that the key to a long life is reducing negative stress. It has become part of the paradigm of modern society that stress is bad, and while this is true in many ways, there are certain types of stress which may actually motivate us to do better. Submitting a project on time, reaching a sales goal before a competitor – or in this case, successfully completing a job search — may certainly be prompted by stressful emotions.

Stress-Free Job Search - Stop-stress-stop-sign

While this type of stress may actually help us with our accomplishments, in its extreme, it can actually have the opposite effect, hindering our full potential.

You can’t eliminate stress altogether, but you can certainly put it in perspective.  Here are some tips for job-searching with a calm perspective:

1.  Stop the checking cycle.

It’s normal to anxiously await a response from a hiring manager following an interview or submission of a job application.  Of course, we know that constantly checking and rechecking your email or text messages is not going to affect the speed at which a message will arrive. It will however, lead to a habitual cycle that can significantly boost stress levels. Make sure your notifications and volume settings are active on all your devices, and then just put it out of your mind and go on with your day.  Another option is to designate a specific time – morning and/or afternoon – when you check your email messages, preferably no more than twice a day.

2.  Leave the past behind.

Refrain from becoming consumed with reviewing your prior correspondence, looking for misspellings or grammatical errors.  If that is the reason they’re not calling you back then move on to the next job and resolve to do a better job of proofreading next time.  Also, if you feel you could have responded better to certain questions during previous interviews, learn from your errors, and make your next interview count.

3.  Organization counts.

Staying organized can also help reduce job-search related stress levels.  Keeping either an Excel spreadsheet or a notebook of all the jobs you’ve applied for, along with contact names, numbers, and emails will ensure that you are not left perplexed and stressed when you do receive those call-backs.  This also includes having interview-appropriate clothing ready to go, as well as enough resume copies and a professional looking portfolio to go with you.

4.  Don’t be over-consumed.

An overly stressful outlook may cause you to feel insecure, which can then spill over into your demeanor and decision making processes.  A super-stressed job seeker may find themselves repeatedly calling a prospective employer in hopes of finding out if they’ve got the job; however, this is never a good idea.   If your interviewer said they should have an answer by next week, wait the allotted amount of time. If the full week goes by, and you haven’t heard from them, then it is appropriate to reach out to them with your inquiry.

5.  Be budget-smart.

If you are job-seeking due to the loss of a job, and are currently unemployed, this can certainly translate to an understandable amount of pressure, as well as adding a completely new layer of stress to your job search. If you are eligible for unemployment benefits, be sure you have filed appropriately and in a timely manner.  In either case, your finances may be tight during this time, so creating a reasonable, yet frugal budget may help you feel more in control during times of uncertainty.

6.  Don’t take rejections personally. 

Rejection is part of life; particularly when you’re on the hunt for a new job.  Jobs sometimes disappear because of a corporate policy shift; because the company has been acquired by (or is acquiring) another company; or because it simply became irrelevant.  Most often, though, it is because they found someone who fit into their corporate culture.  It doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough, or that you should take it personally.  They may have been a better fit; but somewhere along the line you’re going to be a better fit than somebody else.

7.  Seek alternatives.

If you want to expend some of that nervous energy, continue looking for new job openings, and use your time to line up more possibilities.  In this case, it is certainly not naïve optimism to just carry on.  There are always new opportunities and alternative strategies when seeking employment.  Consider looking into webinars or online refresher courses to enhance your marketability, or work on building your professional network, which in turn, could lead to even more employment prospects.

8.  Find time for enjoyment.

A frenzied approach to job hunting isn’t necessarily going to help you reach your objective any quicker.  While your job search is most likely taking up a great deal of your free time, there is no reason you still can’t “take time off” now and then.  Enjoying a Friday or Saturday evening with friends; making time for enjoyable and healthy activities, such as exercise, yoga, shows, music, reading, cooking, or whatever it is that you enjoy most in life is crucial to your sanity and your overall stress reduction.  The job boards will still be there when you get back; except this time, you will have a clear mind and an energized spirit.

Stress-Free Job Search - Man working on laptop computer_sunglasses

The Takeaway

Everyone benefits from maintaining a centered approach to life, and job seeking is certainly no exception.  Remember not to get down on yourself; and don’t get into a panic because you didn’t get the first, or second, or the third job you applied for.  It’s a process, and there are resources out there to help you make it work.  Don’t worry… Relax… You’ve got this.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Why Job Fairs Still Matter and How to Make the Most of Them

Despite what some may believe, job fairs are actually still a relevant and beneficial component in today’s job market, according to many experts.  They also hold a strong aspect of efficiency, since only at a job fair, can a job seeker make a successful first impression on not just one, but multiple employers in a single setting.

In a culture that is steeped in virtual and electronic communication, job fairs offer employers and job seekers the ability to communicate face-to-face, which still remains an integral factor in the pre-hiring process.

Job Fairs - word cloud

While notice of many job fair events may spread throughout your online social and professional network, websites such as Jobfairsin.com, allow job seekers to search for specific and applicable job fairs in their location of choice.

Once you have decided upon the job fair you are attending, there are several guidelines that will ensure you are prepared and equipped to make the best impression possible.

Research first.

Learn which companies will be in attendance, decide upon which ones you are most interested, and do some online research.  Employers attending a job fair in search of qualified talent expect that you will know something about their company prior to attending.  A simple visit to their website and LinkedIn profile is certainly not difficult, and can help you toward making a great first impression.  One tip is to bring up one of the details you researched, and ask the representative to elaborate some more on the topic.

Dress the part.

When it comes to your choice of wardrobe, the same rules that apply to job interviews also apply to job fairs.  However, at a job fair, you also want to be sure you stand out among the masses, so consider investing in some sharp new interview-friendly garments, if your budget allows.  Also, never leave home with wrinkled clothing, scuffed or worn shoes, or over-the-top accessories or jewelry.

Plan ahead.

While you are most likely going to be focused on the employers you researched, leave some extra time for the unexpected.  There is always the possibility that you will come across a company which peaks your interest out of the blue, so be sure to bring extra resumes, as well as a healthy snack to maintain your energy level throughout the day.

Be introduction-ready.

Often an employer will ask you to speak briefly about yourself and your background, so make sure that you’re prepared with a concise statement that explains in a nutshell, who you are professionally.  If an employer asks where you currently work, and you happen to be unemployed at the time of the job fair, opt for sharing what skills and expertise you gained at your “most recent place of employment”.  Whatever your status, remember that company representatives are likely meeting hundreds of job candidates at just one job fair, so be sure to lead with your strongest attributes to remain memorable.

Job Fair - job candidates in line

Maintain enthusiasm and focus.

Remember that appropriate eye contact, a smile, a firm handshake, and an approachable conversation style is the best way to initiate a meeting with a company representative. Displaying your enthusiasm and staying focused on the respective job opening is important, as is avoiding discussions regarding details of your own job search, etc.  Remain confident, and remember that the representative you’re speaking to is either a hiring manager or HR representative for a specific company, not a career counselor.

Engage in smart networking.

You may have made several promising connections, but if you don’t exchange the proper information and stay organized, you are likely to miss out on a great opportunity.  Don’t leave an employer’s booth without receiving a business card, and be sure to have a safe place to store the ones you’ve gathered.  Also, remember that your resume is not only an indicator of your job qualifications, but also serves as your contact sheet, so be sure all phone numbers, websites, and any other points of communication are clear and correct.

Follow up.

Similarly to how you would follow up after a job interview, you will also follow up with the career representatives you spoke with at the job fair.  A phone call or a brief email, thanking them for taking the time to speak with you, reiterating your interest in the position, as well as the basic qualifications most applicable to the position (to help them identify you) is sufficient.  Additionally, if the any of the company websites offer an online job application, you are giving yourself a double-advantage by completing it and even mentioning that you met with one of their representatives at the recent job fair.

The Takeaway

Job fairs can certainly be nerve-wracking, based on the sheer volume of employers and job seekers in attendance; all with the same goal of seeking important opportunities and meaningful professional connections.  However, remembering your ultimate goal and striving to make a stellar impression on each company representative by following the guidelines we’ve mentioned, will ensure that you leave your next job fair with some amazing new career prospects.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Outstanding Résumés… And How To Write Them

It’s not terribly difficult to isolate the best résumé design for your needs.  After all, there are countless web articles, templates, software, and Resume Writing - Working on computer - B&Wservices available to help you achieve the most attractive layout and effectual result.  However, in this article, we are going to discuss what makes a résumé stand out, from the inside out.

Back when you applied for your very first job, maybe replenishing stock in a grocery store, it might have been a good idea to relate that you once had three concurrent paper routes for two different newspapers.  It showed that you were responsible, dedicated, and motivated.

Now that you have graduated college, or have been in the workforce for 10 to 20+ years, no one needs to know that except, perhaps, as a clever anecdote.  Save it for your biography, after you retire.

The First Thing They See

Your prospective employer will initially notice your name, contact information, and likely your general field or industry.  This is what you want the reader to keep in mind as they examine your résumé.  This is your “brand,” so make it big and bold and tie it to their needs.

However, there are other matters to also consider.

Write for the Machine

Today, more and more companies are using Applicant Tracking Software (ATS).  ATS programs identify the exact wording or vocabulary of the job description in order to filter applicants’ résumés.  Unfortunately, most applicants unsuccessfully exploit this fundamental property.

For instance, if the company with which you’re seeking employment is looking for a  SysAdmin, and expresses a preference for people familiar with Network Security, Problem Solving, Information Security Policies, Network Protocols, On-call, Process Improvement, Network Troubleshooting, and Firewall Administration, be sure to use as many of those exact phrases as are consistent with your experience.

One strategy is to envision every distinct phrase in the job description as being worth five points the first time you use it.  Build up your “score”, and the ATS program will add your résumé to the collection “for human review” instead of the “Thank you for your interest” pile.

Write for the Human, too

While software may effectively sort and analyze basic information, human beings are naturally more adept at analyzing and evaluating ambiguous information and reaching thoughtful conclusions.

Of course, copy/pasting the original job description could possibly trick older ATS programs into passing your résumé along; however, they have grown much more sophisticated, so relying on this method is certainly not recommended.  Even if that ploy succeeded initially, a hiring manager would see what had been done.

Tell Them What They Need To Know

It is said that the average HR manager typically reviews a résumé for an average maximum of six seconds before deciding whether or not the applicant has a shot at the job.

Do your best to provide a concise document which describes your accomplishments.  The employer knows the responsibilities involved with their position; after all they created it.  What they need from you is quantifiable, tangible data to help them see where you will fit within their organization.

Did you save “X” number of dollars over your predecessor in your position?  Did you retain 80 percent of customers that we’re thinking of moving on to another supplier?  Did you accumulate 130 percent in new sales figures?  Did you train 80 percent of all new employees, or were your trainees generating 27 percent more sales than those trained by others?  Show them the numbers!

Sell Yourself

The object here is to showcase your abilities, and then tie them in to their requirements.  This is best done within your job descriptions in the body of the résumé.  For instance, if you are applying for an Office Manager’s position which requires knowledge of recruiting and training employees – and one of your prior positions as a Human Resources Generalist required a similar skill set – ensure that this particular bullet-point appears first, and is not buried at the bottom of a long list of possibly more loosely-related responsibilities.

There has been recent deliberation on whether the “Objective” line (the opening statement describing your career goals) should still be used.  Many believe it tends to shift the focus to the applicant’s own needs and goals, rather than what they can do for the organization, itself.  If you are looking for an opening line, perhaps opt for verbiage which highlights what you can offer the company, instead.

The Takeaway: Remember the Basics

Resume Writing - graphicAuthor, lecturer, and Guinness Book of World Records IQ record-breaker, Marilyn Mach (aka; Marilyn vos Savant) once stated, “When our spelling is perfect, it’s invisible.  But when it’s flawed, it prompts strong negative associations”.

Given the level of competition in today’s job market, there truly is no margin for error, when it comes to your résumé. Spelling counts; grammar counts; explaining gaps in your work history counts.  You don’t want to risk a hiring manager making unwarranted assumptions because you failed to proofread or because you took some time off for an overseas sabbatical or to write a novel.

Moreover, relevancy also counts.  While there may be room to list hobbies and interests on certain types of résumés, keep these details to a minimum, and avoid divulging any extraneous personal information.

Be truthful, insightful, and describe why you are the best person for the job by including valid examples based on past performance.  Telling them why they need you makes you the best candidate of all.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Five Trends That Are Impacting Career Choices

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions we will make, as it affects and determines so many aspects of our lives. We all havetrends-that-impact-career-choices-marble-hitting-other-marbles specific talents and interests that will lead us toward certain professions, but we must also be mindful of the external influences that are projecting us in a certain direction. It is important that we keep an open mind to what attracts us to certain fields and not others.  Sometimes these choices are based on personal decisions and inclinations; other times they stem from peripheral circumstances, such as economy, technological advances, and sociological changes.

Therefore, when considering different career options, it is important to also study the societal trends that may affect our choices, both now and down the road.

1.   Technology growth

It’s no secret that technology is growing faster than many of us can keep up with, and this continued growth is also resulting in more jobs in the United States. Consistent advances in technology are not only ensuring new jobs requiring additional skills in specific industries, but also within their education and training. Technology has also opened the doors for telecommuting, offering employees the option of maintaining high paying jobs while working from the comfort of their own homes.

2.   Globalization

When it comes to remote work or telecommuting jobs, a person does not have to be in the United States to “work” in the U.S. or any other country, for that matter. While this opens the market for job seekers to work for anyone from their own home, it also puts a great deal more competitive pressure on organizations. Companies will be looking for individuals who grasp the need for innovative marketing and can contribute to the business agenda without boundaries.

3.   Downsizing

While younger workers are steadily replacing the baby boomers who are now reaching retirement age and leaving the workforce, there are a number of jobs currently held by baby boomers that may become obsolete. According to 247WallSt.com, jobs such as Desktop Publisher, Communications Equipment Operator, and Textile Machine Setter/Operator, for example, are steadily on the decline.  As these employees retire, companies are turning more toward technology, making many positions previously held by skilled workers either outdated or unnecessary. So when considering career choices, it is important to research which traditional careers which may be severely impacted by baby boomers leaving the work force in conjunction with new technological advances.

4.   Improved medicine and delayed retirement

This is a two-layered trend which is impacting career choices right now.  Life expectancy has noticeably increased within the last 70 years. In fact, in 1945, the average life expectancy was 66 years, as opposed to 2015 when the standard life expectancy was recorded at 79 years. Today, people are living longer due to further education in nutrition and wellness as well as technological advances, all of which have led to trends-that-impact-career-choices-glasses-on-keyboardimproved medicine. This means there are a greater overall number of people in the workforce, as individuals are working into the later years of their life; sometimes by choice, and other times out of necessity.

“The current average retirement age is 62—but new college graduates won’t be able to retire until age 75, according to a new study from NerdWallet,” wrote Kate Ashford in the Forbes article The New Retirement Age? 75, Study Says.

So while people may generally be living longer, many individuals will need to work at least a decade longer than the current retirement age due to the high cost of education, enormous student loans, and increased living costs. This may affect career choices in two ways:  Some will put a heavier relevance on a generous paycheck to counteract the anticipation of working well past standard retirement age.  Others may more acceptingly consider that since they are going to be working further into their golden years, it would be advantageous to decide upon a fulfilling career they will ultimately enjoy.

However, it could also be argued that future up-and-comers may find fewer available jobs openings in years to come, as older workers remain in their positions longer.

5.   Social Media Marketing

This is perhaps one of the fastest growing career trends. Social media has become a cornerstone to the survival and advertising success of any business, and finding individuals who know their way around this marketing platform is crucial. According to an article on DigitalTrends.com, the average 25 to 54 year old checks their social media accounts approximately 17 times per hour, resulting in an average of 4.7 hours a day engaged in online communities.  Therefore, Americans are exposed to the most amount of advertizing while scrolling their social media newsfeeds.  Consequently, the ability to stay ahead of the competition on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn is a valuable tool that companies will continue to look for in their employees.

In Conclusion

With enough patience, insight, and inquisitive research, you can begin to assess and ascertain how current societal trends in business, technology, employment, and even medicine, will ultimately impact your own particular career choice.


Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

The Top Current Jobs in Business

What’s in Your Future?

Five sectors in the U.S. economy are going to drive more than 50 percent of the growth of new jobs in the next four years.  That’s in excess of 10,000,000 of the projected jobs by the end of 2020, and none of them contribute to economic growth.  How is it possible?

top-jobs-in-business-professional-group-pointingThese five sectors showing occupational growth are professional services, business services, social assistance, healthcare, and construction, indicating that service-based jobs are continuing an upward trend.

All five of these areas are noted for being indicators of economic growth in the technical sector.  It is clear that the job market will be calling for employees with Bachelor Degrees, Associates Degrees, Technical Degrees, and other STEM-based degrees, in the near future.

However, as we discover this information, we hope we haven’t missed an important window of opportunity.  Examine this data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  By 2022, it is projected that 25.6 percent of our work force will be aged 55 or older, a point we have never reached in US history to date.  The bulk (63.1 percent) of our work force will consist of people who are in the middle of their careers and not expected to make any significant changes.  The replacement workers, age 16 to 24, comprise only 11 percent of the workforce, which presents a problem.

We are not producing “replacement workers” fast enough to bridge the gap, and we potentially face a shortfall in the number of available workers at a time when businesses are going to be desperate for growth.

If you’re just starting out in your college education, and you’re looking at a business or technical career, that is an immense relief to employers.  You are going to be desperately needed when all those approaching retirement are finally separated from the job market.

Here are some of the areas you should focus on:

  • Advertising
  • Business operations specialists
  • Computer related occupations
  • Engineering
  • Financial occupations
  • Management occupations
  • Marketing
  • Promotion
  • Public relations
  • Sales and support services
  • Sales management and supervisors

top-jobs-in-business-outline-of-peopleComputer-related fields will provide a large portion of jobs (approximately 860,000), and management occupations will provide another approximate 200,000 positions, but none of the above listed categories are predicted to fall below 100,000 positions.

As it stands right now, when looking at all jobs on a city by city basis, hiring requirements are running between the mid-forties and the mid-fifties (percentage wise) where they stipulate a minimum of a Bachelor Degree.  That’s right…half of all the jobs require a college degree nowadays, and this, too, is a new record in our history.

Of course, in a world where babies grow up with a rattle in one hand and a tablet PC or an iPhone in the other hand, more people are technically competent now than at any other time in our history.  So what sort of jobs do we have for them?

  • Analytics Manager STEM & Tech Exp.
  • Audit Manager A.
  • Data Scientist A., Ph.D.
  • Engagement Manager Tech Degree
  • HR Manager A.
  • Mobile Developer A. & Tech Exp. Product Manager Tech Degree
  • Software Engineer C.S./Tech Degree Solutions Architect B.C.S./Tech Degree Tax Manager B.A.

The Takeaway

So, in consideration of this gap, there has never been a more important time to ascertain your plans as a job seeker. If you want to be in the construction trade, there will be plenty of great jobs for you.  The nursing profession is set to offer approximately 400,000 jobs, as well.

If, however, your interest is in business and technology, you need to take the time right now to decide where you are headed.  The biggest, most powerful ship in the world can churn the water into foam, but most assuredly it will never go anywhere important unless it also has a rudder to give it some direction.

Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Exploring Talent Communities and Their Role in Recruitment

While Talent Communities have a great deal to offer the world of recruitment and professional networking, they are neither employment agencies nor job boards.  They are, rather, segmented online groups which encourage the convergence of individuals with similar goals and talent-communities-businessman-holding-globe-of-professionalsinterests to interact and share information for the benefit of all.  Through collaboration of members, Talent Communities can offer a wide range of employment information and resources on an unofficial level.

Although they are beneficial to recruiting, it is not necessarily their sole purpose.  Members often brainstorm problems of various descriptions, very much akin to the phenomenon that prevailed from the 1980s through the early 1990s when the Internet was virtually unknown to the common person.

Group History

Before the World Wide Web was introduced, computers of all makes and varieties communicated through common telephone lines with modems via Bulletin Board Services (BBS).

From approximately 1978 to 1996, computer enthusiasts helped others solve their technical problems in many separate areas called SIGs (Special Interest Groups) covering employment, philosophy, science, creative writing, social phenomenal, or anything else you could imagine.  Essentially, Bulletin Board Services embodied the concept of the World Wide Web before it even existed as a mainstream medium.

Full Circle

Fast forward to the internet-driven 21st century, and we find we have parallel communities that are essentially SIGs.  People with similar interests share information and support each other, while reaping the benefit of available and easily-accessible expertise.

Recruitment Contribution

Although Talent Communities do offer a wide spectrum of service-related advantages, it is not wrong to assume that they are essentially career oriented.  They present a great opportunity to network within your own niche; you can enhance your contacts with connections very specifically tied to your career, rather than more generically as you would on most social media platforms.

Another feature that Talent Communities allow for is social recruiting, where professional recruiters or hiring managers seek top job candidates who are actively seeking employment.  Whether these recruiters are running the communities or not, candidates can advertise their availability simply through their participation.

Why Create a Talent Community?

In terms of time and effort, large companies (greater than 200 employees) spend nearly $5000 for each new hire.  If your company is in the habit of hiring 400 employees per year, that equates to two million dollars annually spent on recruiting.

On average, it can take six weeks to hire a new employee (eight weeks in the medical profession).  Having a critical position unfilled for a month and a half isn’t simply inconvenient; that empty desk may be costing an employer approximately $2000 per day in lost revenue.  Compared to the $5,000 cost of hiring, the loss of $84,000 in revenue is quite significant.  Also, there is often more than one vacancy, so it starts to add up very quickly.

By turning your “Careers” section into an inviting Talent Community you can have an ever-present pool of candidates.  Most of them will be passive candidates (those who are not actively seeking a job, but are curious about your company).  A number of active candidates will be present; some of your own employees must participate to answer questions, supply information, provide articles to show that the Talent Community is active; and in this modern age, when the upcoming crop of replacements for the retiring Baby Boomers is going to be 25 million short, you should invite your retirees and former employees.  Not only do they have the expertise to drive the Talent Community forward but they might be persuaded to return to work and offer their expertise while the employment supply-and-demand formula finds its balance again.

Benefits to Job Seekers

talent-communities-woman-working-at-laptopAn interested visitor can get a very specific idea about a particular employer when they explore that company’s Talent Community.  Understanding the corporate culture makes it much easier to decide if the job is a good fit for them.  Information provided by current and former employees will let them know if the available opportunities match their goals.

As they get to know the company, the company gets to know them.  This familiarity makes it much easier to apply for and obtain a job.

Furthermore, establishing an online rapport or relationship with a current employee opens the possibility of getting a personal referral.  Companies have reported that they grant more weight to a personal referral than they do to any other form of information about a potential hire.

The Takeaway

For employers, it really doesn’t get much better than having your own Talent Community full of potential hires.  It’s going to reduce your hiring costs, significantly speed up the whole hiring process, and save quite a bit of money in terms of lost revenue.

For job seekers, accessing a Talent Community can provide you with clear window into a company of interest, as well as the opportunity to communicate with other employees at the same organization.

Therefore, Talent Communities are a truly a win-win option for all participants.

By Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Reentering the Workforce After a Long Absence

The reasons why an individual may leave the workforce indefinitely are multi-faceted.  The most common include maternity/paternity, palliative care for a sick or elderly relative, raising children, additional education, starting a business, stress-related leave, or simply taking time for creative endeavors.

reentering-the-workforce-long-corridorA parting can take place in an official capacity, such as a sabbatical, while some workers may choose an early retirement.  Yet, while the reasons for prematurely discontinuing your employment may vary, the rationales which motivate one to return to the workforce also range in basis.

 Voluntary Return

In some cases, it’s simply a matter of daily monotony that attracts the willfully unemployed back into the workforce again.  Children reach adulthood, personal goals were reached, retirement was unfulfilling, or various circumstances may have left you seeking additional purpose in your life.

Obligatory Return

In a situation where there is a compulsory decision to return to work for financial reasons, for instance, your options may be more limited; however a great deal of the same logic applies.  It’s possible that when you planned your sabbatical or early retirement, you didn’t properly anticipate certain life circumstances that may have caused you personal economic strain.  However, don’t despair because this is an obvious and common concern, which can also be met with an additional sense of fulfillment if approached in the correct capacity.

Consider the Climate

Businesses are losing an immense amount of talent in a short span of time due to the large group of baby-boomers who have reached retirement age, and employers are scrambling to find their replacements.  In most cases an early-retiree is welcomed back with open arms, and possibly, a certain sense of relief.  These returned employees have expertise; they already know the ropes, and can work autonomously.  If these experienced employees choose to spend a few extra years training the newer recruits for future leadership roles, then that is also a tremendous bonus for any company.

Therefore, whatever your line of work or reason for leaving, don’t necessarily look upon your absence as a hindrance.  For every company looking to hire the twenty-something college graduate with no actual hands-on experience, there are countless employers who appreciate maturity and a longer range of experience, despite some work history gaps; so it’s important to maintain your confidence, and focus on these types of opportunities.

First Presentation

Chances are, if you have been out of the workforce for a substantial length of time you may not even have an electronic résumé.  If this is the case, focus on converting your hard copy paper resume into a format which modern employers can handle.  Remember that the long gaps in your work history can be addressed during an interview, yet any volunteer experience you may have acquired during your absence should certainly be included; as good employers appreciate a well-rounded job candidate.

If you furthered your education and earned an MBA or any other degree or certification which would be valuable in your chosen field, no further explanation is necessary.  An employer will be happy to speak to somebody who’s interested in expanding upon their education.

Spotlight your accomplishments, your abilities, and how they are relevant to the job you’re seeking.  If your extended absence was due to strictly personal reasons, adding “further details available on request” is more than sufficient, and no added concentration is necessary.  If your initial reason for leaving the workforce was to raise children or care for a family member, it’s important to remember that you are not the first person to make this decision and you certainly won’t be the last.  A modern and sensible employer is aware of this and should be respectful of this fact.

Updated Skills

If your absence only spanned a few years, your job skills are most likely still valid, however, you may find that you need to brush up on certain proficiencies.  Nowadays, five years can seem more like ten due to the speed at which workplaces are evolving, due mostly to technological advancements and changes in communication techniques. Try looking into training webinars, online tutorials, and adult education programs in your area.

If you have been unemployed for close to ten years or longer, then it is well worth your time to investigate many of the free online schools (including some fine ivy-league colleges that would surprise you) to get a new certification, or even a degree.

If you have been out of the workforce for a considerable amount of time, but walk in to an interview with a freshly minted diploma or certificate, you are demonstrating that you are self-directed, well-versed in your field, and ready to work.


What is extremely important for candidates who have been out of the job-seeking world for ten years or longer to remember is that the methods for seeking employment have changed drastically.  While individuals were utilizing online job searching techniques ten years ago, there is a possibility you have never personally experienced these changes, especially if you spent many years working for the same employer before your departure.

There is currently an expansive array of employment websites to register with as well as mobile apps to get you started on your search.  Luckily, they are not difficult to find, and a little extra time searching the internet should direct you toward the right path.

Moreover, don’t forget to set up a LinkedIn profile, since employers in recent years have been relying heavily on LinkedIn as a viable recruitment source.  This will also give you the opportunity to network toward the job you want.  In addition to listing your skills and experience, be sure to display on your profile that you are seeking employment.

Starting Out

In all cases, seeking out a reputable employment agency or career counselor can also help you reenter the work force through proper coaching and correct representation of your talents.  Inform them of your skills, and try out some of their assessments.  Another important part of their job is that they can reveal overlapping areas of interest that can lead to a new career you haven’t even reentering-the-workforce-multi-faceted-candidate-collageconsidered.

Consider accepting a part-time or temporary position through an employment agency to help you acclimate yourself back into the working world, and don’t be afraid to agree to a temporary position that is outside of your original line of work. Temp assignments can be short-term and consecutive, and may even offer you the opportunity to discover a new endeavor you never realized you had a talent for.

If this is the case, the agency can help you focus on acquiring full-time employment in the particular area you are interested in.  You can build credibility with a particular employer, while seeking out the full-time position you want.  You can also attain a reputation as a reliable worker for the employment agency, and they, in turn, will find you better quality opportunities once you have proven yourself as a valuable, dependable worker.

Additionally, a career counselor or recruiter can help you brush up on your interview skills; which will be invaluable when seeking employment after a long break.  Job interviews can be nerve-wracking for the job-seekers who have never left the market, let alone for someone returning from a long absence of non-employment.  This is also something you can do at home by reviewing and answering practice questions, and even video-taping your replies to assist you in smoothing out your verbal (and non-verbal) communication.

In the Meantime

While we may be living in a digital world, especially in terms of job-hunting and employment in general, there is still much to be achieved through the fading art of making in-person connections.  Print up some business cards and keep them handy.  On the occasion you encounter someone with a connection to your field of interest, whether at a dinner party or walking through a shopping mall, don’t hesitate to hand out your card.

The Takeaway

Regardless of the reason you left the workforce to begin with, or your reason for returning, the world is full of opportunities.  Approaching this new stage in your life with a smile and an upbeat attitude will get you there faster. Positivity is a very attractive attitude to employers — and people in general — and quite possibly, one of those people may just lead you to your perfect job after all these years.

By Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Are You On The Wrong Career Path?

Just as the approximate eight hours per night we spend sleeping replenishes our energy, repairs cumulative wear and tear, and allows us to assimilate all of the information we’ve collected in the last 16 hours, our jobs can be thought of in a similar way.  We spend approximately eight hours per day working to replenish our financial resources, pay our expenditures, and feed our sense of purpose so we can hopefully enjoy the remaining hours of our day.

are-you-on-the-wrong-career-path-businessmen-walking-down-hallYet, if one portion is out of balance with rest — for example, our job is causing us distress or unhappiness — chances are the rest will suffer.  Consequently, if your current line of work isn’t suiting you, there is a great likelihood you are already aware, even if you haven’t quite admitted it yet.

Knowing When to Make a Change

You may be thinking that since you’ve already got a job, it pays the bills, perhaps there are only a few more years to retirement (depending on your stage in life), why make a change?

Security is a powerful influence.  Some of us approach our jobs with such aversion and apathy in the name of perceived security, it’s a wonder we can even bring ourselves into work every day.  A negative outlook can permeate your day, even spreading to coworkers and beyond.

Recognizing the Signs

  • If you’ve found yourself feeling down, think about your line of work since one of the major causes of depression is job dissatisfaction.
  • You notice your home-life has been disrupted in some way.  Frequently, if you can’t get excited about your job, it translates as a lack of interest in your partner or your children, and sometimes dissatisfied employees bring their frustrations home with them.
  • You know you’re capable a doing a better job, but can’t seem to find the inspiration to provide your best work.
  • Even after being offered a raise or promotion, you still are not excited about your job.
  • You find yourself frequently searching job listings, although you haven’t applied to any.
  • Although you update your résumé regularly, you significantly downplay your current position.

Ask the Right Questions

  • Would working for a different company, doing the same job, solve my problems?  If not, you need to consider a different career.
  • Is there anything about this job that gives me happiness?  List your transferable skills.
  • What would allow me to love any job?  Make a list.

Finding Answers

Once you have ascertained you are better suited to another career or field, what are some of the first steps you should take?

The questions above may have provided you with some sort of idea of what you would like to do.  Now is the time to do some research.  If you enter blindly, you may be in for some surprises.are-you-on-the-wrong-career-path-new-career-sign-blue

Find someone who already holds the type of position that you covet and has been at it for at least a couple of years.  Ask them what their lifestyle is like; if there are downsides to the job; if there’s anything they might like to make you aware of that could help you make a decision.

Let’s explore a case-in-point.  Suppose that you want to be the person who rolls out the SAP software in all of your company’s international headquarters — in every city in the world.  You’ve never been on a plane before in your life, and this would offer an exciting chance to see all those great cities without personal expenditure.

The reality of that lifestyle may translate to two weeks in Paris; two weeks working from home preparing the next rollout; two weeks in Des Moines; two weeks at home; two weeks in Mexico City; and another two weeks at home, and so on.

If, however, you had performed your research, you may decide that after about a year of extreme traveling, the excitement would most likely wear off, or maybe there is a chance you could rouse a genuine interest in traveling all the cities of the world.  Perhaps, your personal life is such that traveling to that extent may cause you to miss out on a great deal at home; or maybe it would fit perfectly with your current lifestyle.

In other words, beyond researching, try to role-play in your mind what your existence may resemble if you take on your career of choice.  Remember that there are so many individual positions within most fields of choice that you are bound to find what would compliment your well-being, lifestyle, and financial necessities.

The Takeaway

Even with a conventional job on a less grand scale, involving no extraordinary travel, aspects of the job that you are unaware of might make it unbearable.  Investigate new opportunities before committing yourself.

Of course, jobs don’t just magically appear when we want them to (for the most part), so you’re going to have to invest little time and effort. It’s definitely worth it because somewhere out there is a job that suits you perfectly.  You just have to find it!

By Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Practical Interview Advice From Job Recruiters

Locating the most talented and qualified candidates for job openings is the main purpose of any recruiter, however, the amount of time and effort it takes to find the top job-seekers in any particular field is often overlooked.  Recruiters work within the center of the job market, so when looking for interview advice, they should be your first stop.

In the interview world, right and wrong are quite often differentiated by a very fine line.  Here, we’ll look at some practical advice based on expert research in the field.

Maintain Your Selectiveness.

When it comes to hiring, interviewers prefer enthusiasm, interest, and a specific sense of motivation, and any good job recruiter will be sure to respond more readily to a candidate with specific interview-advice-job-recruiters-business-professionals-standing-in-linegoals.  They have dwindling enthusiasm for those who come to the interview with an “I’ll take anything” attitude.  A recruiter can’t place you in a position if you don’t know what you are looking for.

Additionally, don’t lead a recruiter into thinking you may accept a position that you simply aren’t interested in and have no intention of accepting.  According to David Staiti, Managing Partner and Founder of Virus Recruiting, LLC, “Don’t get deep into the interview process, or take things to the offer stage, if you can’t see yourself working at the company. You’ll not only be wasting your time, but you could leave a negative impression with the people who feel like you wasted theirs.

Be the person who knows what they want and would be an asset to the team, and you will find you will swiftly move to the top of a recruiter’s list.

Have Questions Ready.

Interviews are certainly not a one way street.  No interviewer would or should denounce a candidate for asking a question, and the same hold true for meeting with a job recruiter.

In fact, the most disappointing candidate is the one who has no questions at all.  Simply by failing to demonstrate insight about the job, the company, or the market, you risk throwing away a perfect opportunity to convince the interviewer that you’re the right person for the job.

Follow Up the Right Way.

It is natural to wonder exactly what impression you have made on an interviewer, yet it’s important to resist the temptation to continue an intense level of communication after the interview has ended.  Asking what the next steps are before you conclude the interview should technically be your last question.  According to Abby Kohut, recruitment advisor and author of ‘Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets’, “Calling [an interviewer] constantly and demanding to be submitted to a company will just make them think you’re desperate and unhinged and a little scary.”

While a brief “thank you” or follow-up email post-interview is perfectly acceptable, do not barrage your interviewer with an endless series of phone calls and messages in hopes to speed up the process or gain answers.

Don’t Over-Simplify.

Often, a recruiter, or interviewer in general, may not necessarily be an expert in your specific field of knowledge.  However, don’t feel the need to rely on an over-simplified approach.  An experienced professional is likely used to speaking with people more knowledgeable about certain topics, and they will not be affronted or unsettled if an interviewee possesses more knowledge than they do on a certain subject. While you should avoid truly obscure trade jargon, it is not your obligation to reduce your knowledge to bare bones.  As Malcom Forbes once stated, “Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired do”.

Be Diversified.

Rather than being “all about the job”, aim to present as a fully rounded individual.  An interviewer most likely won’t care whether you collect stamps or play paint ball on the weekends, for example.  What they do want to know is that you are reasonably stable and socially integrated.

Appearing as an individual who is healthy in mind and body gives employers more confidence in your long term stability as an employee.  Since stability translates into long-term success with a company, recruiters find this desirable, as it means that you will also reflect well on them as a staffing service.

Share a Good Idea.

If you are interviewing for a specific position or are aware of which organization your recruiter is attempting to place you, try researching the company beforehand and ascertain whether you can isolate a problem they’re having. If it is within your skill set, try working out a potential solution for it.

Once the interview turns more conversational, that is your opportunity to present your observation of the problem and your solution.  Even if it’s not the best solution, at least it demonstrates creativity, and puts you head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd.

The Takeaway

interview-advice-job-recruiters-professional-woman-and-man-in-interviewWhile interviewing in any setting, it’s important to bring all components to the forefront. Avoid reading from a proverbial script, and show your prospective employer the many facets of your professional self.

Show them that you can fit in their company culture, and do your part to learn about the organization.  As mentioned earlier, interviewing is a two way street; besides providing information about yourself, it is your opportunity to learn about the company.  It’s not only a matter of being offered the job; it’s also a matter of being offered a job you want to accept.

If a particular company’s culture doesn’t suit you, remember there are plenty of other companies out there that would welcome your skills and talent.  You can reject or accept them as easily as they can you, and with the proper interviewing skills, your chances of finding the right fit are tenfold.

Be prepared; be yourself; and be hired.

By Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.