The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret
We all know companies spend countless hours and invest a lot of money to develop a brand. It’s estimated that U.S. brand value accounts for nearly 75 percent of business value, so corporate identity theft is no joking matter.
Brandjacking is quickly becoming a common term; it’s when a company’s name, logo and reputation are used without permission in order to benefit someone else. This isn’t just an issue for the company, but also a major issue for job seekers, who often use job search engines to find open positions. Criminals, knowing there is a huge audience of people looking for employment, are posting false ads and openings in order to obtain personal information from job seekers. This type of identity theft hurts the brand and the end user, too, by abusing what should be private information.
How rampant is this problem? It only takes a few seconds to find scam listings via a simple Google search. Just search the name of a major company with the term “jobs” after it. What might be even more disturbing is these scams flourish on specialty job search aggregators like SimplyHired, CareerBuilder and Indeed.
Too often people search for jobs online and apply for positions they think are posted by a specific company, when in fact it has been posted by a lead-generation site maliciously trying to gather their personal information. They sell that information and make money off it, therefore violating the person’s privacy and the brand’s integrity. Even tech-savvy job seekers are being duped because criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated.
Bottom line: Brandjacking is trademark infringement. Taking an offensive-minded approach to reduce the unauthorized use of your brand is critical to protect it. Here are five tips for corporations looking to combat brandjacking and protect job seekers:
1. Encourage applicants to apply for open jobs directly on the company website where their information will be obtained and processed safely and securely.
2. Register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. When mentioning your brand in job postings, use the trademark symbol:®.
3. Conduct ongoing monitoring of brand identity misuse. When violations are found, enforce your trademark and address any trademark infringements. Take legal action when necessary.
4. Warn job seekers of invalid/scam sites that are using your brand in an unauthorized manner. You can post this warning in the careers section on the corporate website.
5. Only advertise on sites like LinkUp where job seekers find openings and click through to apply directly on the company website. LinkUp has a steadfast commitment to protect employer brands. If you choose to advertise on sites that accept revenue from fraudulent listings, you risk tarnishing your brand’s reputation and reducing the talent pool from which you can tap to fill jobs.
We’re now in the heart of summer, between barbecues, vacations and trips to the beach. These long beautiful days provide plenty of reasons to stay happily busy, but for those searching for a new job, these distractions can be detrimental to finding employment. Is your dream job passing you by while you are out having fun in the sun?
Don’t let summer be the reason a great job gets scooped up by another candidate. Consider these five tips for staying motivated and keeping your job hunt on track even during the distracting days of summer:
Routine: Summer’s varying schedules can make it difficult to stick to any type of routine. But having a regular process for job hunting can help you stay organized, keep tabs on job applications and stay on top of newly available jobs. Keep a solid routine by checking email and using a quality job search engine, like LinkUp, daily. Track applications and follow up to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Consider using our job search action plan template to stay organized.
Quality, not quantity: It’s not how many jobs you apply for, it’s applying for the right ones that matters when it comes to finding new employment. Focus on open positions and companies that interest you most, rather than applying for anything that merely fits your job search criteria. You’ll have a better chance of scoring an interview this way and you’ll save a lot of time, too, which you can spend outdoors enjoying the season.
Network: Summer is ideal for socializing, so why not kill two birds with one stone and schedule some professional one-on-one time with key members of your network? Set up coffee with past colleagues and connect about any openings they are aware of, plan lunch dates with mentors and pick their brains about industry trends, and schedule informational interviews at the companies you’d love to work for most.
Support: A support system can be a critical part of a successful job search. Not only can supportive friends and family help you stay positive, they can serve as a reminder to stay focused when you might be getting distracted by the slew of upcoming summer activities. Tap your support system often for advice, assistance and as a sounding board for your ideas. They are there to help, after all.
Attainable goals: Your one big goal is to get an amazing job offer, but be sure to set other attainable goals along the way to keep you focused and positive throughout summer. For example, apply for a certain number of jobs each week, set up a meeting with a professional contact twice a month and get an interview scheduled by month’s end. Small goals like these are critical steps along the job-finding journey, and they will help keep your momentum alive until you are gainfully employed at a great new job.
You are a brand. Everything you do, everything you say, and everything you are makes up your brand. Everyone, no matter how old or how experienced, should know how to manage his or her personal brand. Before this can happen, one must understand the concept. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, describes it this way, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” It is how people perceive you, and it can define who you are. It shows you as a person and as a professional. In order to manage your personal brand, there are 4 steps you need to follow in the creative branding process.
Step 1: Discover your brand
This step includes a lot of self-analysis. You must uncover your passions, values, and beliefs. Understand how others perceive you and understand how you want them to perceive you by comparing your current image with your desired image. Make a list of words that describe you and create a brand map with these words.
Step 2: Define your brand
Narrow your brand map down to three words that define yourself. Figure out what differentiates you from others in your field and focus in on those differences. Be great at a few key things and make them your signature specialties.
Step 3: Create your brand
Use your favorite font to create a logo for yourself. Put it on all of the items in your branding toolkit – resume, business card, cover letter, portfolio, social media, etc. This toolkit is important to have in order to market your brand across multiple platforms.
Step 4: Share your brand
Patch your brand together and make your presence known. Showcase your brand to the world. Use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to share your personal brand with your network.
What’s in it for you?
The benefits of a personal brand are considerable. People will take you more seriously when they see that you are devoted to your work. You can show your skills, personality, and passions through your brand. It sets you apart from all the rest. Remember to discover yourself, your desired image, and your passions. Do this, and you will discover your personal brand identity.
Quality employees are an indispensable resource that directly affects a company’s bottom line. Hiring the right talent is particularly important for small to mid-sized businesses that rely on fewer employees to get jobs done efficiently and effectively. That’s why recruiting should be a key part of every SMBs business strategy.
Modest-sized companies may find the hiring process rather daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The investment of time and money into finding the right employees is well worth it. Good employees will help build a brand’s reputation, boost productivity and ease internal stresses.
Furthermore, recruiting right the first time around is a wise decision financially. If that new employee doesn’t work out, you lose out on time and money. In fact, it costs 20 percent of an annual salary to replace an employee who makes $75,000 a year or less, according to a study by Center for American Progress report. That can be a big expense to make up for many SMBs.
Consider these smart recruiting tips that all small to mid-sized businesses can easily use:
1. Create a clear job description
A job description should be clear, concise and informative in order to attract the right applicants. Start by defining what your company does and why, then go into the details of the job duties and responsibilities. Include daily tasks and how the role fits into the company’s overall mission. Also include benefit information – a major part of an employee’s compensation package. Always be open and honest.
2. Specify essential qualities
Knowing the main duties of the open position is a good start, but before you begin interviewing, identify the qualities you’d like to see in candidates. Define required versus desirable skills so you can see where each candidate falls on the spectrum. Keep in mind personal qualities that might be beneficial as well – like a candidate who is organized, good at multi-tasking or has great writing skills.
3. Advertise effectively
Getting the word out about an open position is like casting a fishing line – first you need to know where the fish are, then you need to get your lure out there in front of them. Select the best advertising outreach options and only post on quality job search engines. You don’t just want to reach people, you want to reach the right people – five awesome applications are better than 50 mediocre any day. To learn more about LinkUp’s solutions for small to mid-sized business click here.
4. Convey company culture
Contrary to popular belief, recruiting is a two-way street. Not only is the candidate vying to impress you, you should be trying to put your best foot forward as well. Highlight the company’s culture and make the values and mission of the organization clear. A good candidate will have more than just professional skills – he or she will have a personality and work ethic that aligns with the how the company operates.
5. Never stop recruiting
Perhaps the most valuable tip for all SMBs when it comes to finding the best talent: never stop recruiting. Even when there are no job openings, remain alert for potential candidates who might be a good fit in the future. Anticipating hiring demands and tracking talent on an ongoing basis can put you one step ahead of the competition.
After last month’s pretty horrific miss in our forecast, I’ll err on the side of keeping this month’s forecast commentary to a minimum. But one of the things we’ve started doing each month in our jobs forecast webinar is giving our prior month’s forecast a grade, so I’ll do the same here (which is particularly painful when the grade is an F).
Last month, with a healthy dose of trepidation and much anxiety (obviously well-founded), we forecast net job gains of 350,000. The BLS reported last month that the U.S. economy added a net gain of 217,000 – a decline of 65,000 from the gain reported the prior month. Despite the fact that the BLS could end up revising its numbers for May in the next 30 and/or 60 days, we have to give ourselves a grade of an F at this point. So for the year, our forecast grades are as follows:
With the solid performance in February and April, I’d still say we’re at a B for the year, but we’ll see how things progress.
In any event, the pendulum has swung quite a bit the other way with our jobs opening data and things are looking decidedly more bleak these days as we assess what’s going on in the labor market. In May, the blended average of new job openings in our job search engine (which lists 2.2 million jobs indexed directly from 50,000 company websites) fell 5.5%, while the blended average of total openings rose just .3%. In our forecasting model, we take a blended 50/50 mix of the new and total job openings in the prior month to predict net job gains in the current month, relative to the net gain in the prior month. So for June, the -2.6% blended decline in new and total job openings gives us a forecast of a net gain of only 195,000 jobs in June, down from the 217,000 added to the U.S. economy in May.
Unfortunately, our job openings data didn’t get any better in June. Looking at the data by state, new jobs in our search engine fell 5% in June, while total job openings rose just 1%.
Looking at job listings by category, the data is exactly the same, with new job openings falling 5% and total job openings climbing just 1%.
Based on our tepid data in June, our preliminary outlook for job growth in July is not encouraging. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that we’ll get another set of data points for June when we compare July to June at the end of July, and the picture could change to some degree. But our initial assessment, at this point, is that net job gains in July will be disappointing.
If there is a positive spin to put on our assessment of the labor market, I’d say it is worth pointing out that even with the distinct possibility of a weak number on Thursday, the total jobs gained in the 2nd quarter should end up being the highest in any of the previous 13 quarters. Q2 should also break this horrible streak we’ve been on since 2011 in which the job gains in the 1st quarter of each of the past 3 years (with single exception in Q4 2011) were not exceeded in any subsequent quarter during that year (and Q4 ’11 just barely beat Q1 ’11).
So there’s a bit of good news to keep in mind as you’re eating your hot dog and watching fireworks on Friday.
Happy 4th of July.
Picture this: You’re 35 and just got a new job managing a 10-person team. You arrive at work and learn every member of that team is as old as your parents. How can you remain positive and create a work environment that embraces a generational mix of employees without any negativity or backlash?
First, consider the many benefits of having a workplace with employees of different generations. Working alongside baby boomers has many potential benefits. Their long life experience brings new perspectives to the table. Their business savvy can ensure a well-rounded approach to projects. Boomers are notoriously hard workers, too, and when given respect they often reward a company and their team with remarkable loyalty.
The Great Recession and increased expectations for standards of living has caused many boomers to work later in life. Boomers are working past 60 and many plan to work up to 70 or beyond. If you’re tasked with managing members of the baby boomer generation, consider these insights that can help smooth the process and ensure a productive, collaborative team.
While younger generations grew up with technology readily available, baby boomers needed to learn tech skills much later in life. While some are completely up to speed and just as tech savvy as their millennial counterparts, others may need extra time to learn new technologies and use them efficiently at work. Exercise patience and offer training as needed.
For younger generations, email and texts are the quick and easy way to communicate. Boomers, in general, thrive on more personal approaches to communication. That’s not to say everything requires a formal conversation, but know when it’s appropriate to send a quick email and when a phone call or in-person meeting is better. When praise and kudos are due, always opt for face-to-face conversations in order to make a bigger impact.
Managing boomers with a steady yet gentle grip is the key to building solid workplace relationships. Don’t walk in and proclaim to be the boss; rather, take the approach of being a facilitator. Few things are worse than an arrogant supervisor, and this is even more off-putting when there is a big age gap. Good bosses will focus on streamlining processes and removing obstacles. Establish and maintain an open-door policy, be proactive with discussions and get input before making big decisions that affect the team.
The one constant in life and in business is change, but for boomers, adapting to change can sometimes feel daunting. If you need to change something, especially if it’s been in effect for multiple years, first practice open communication and get input. Then clearly communicate the change (new process, updated equipment, etc.) and why it’s taking place. Offer training and support as needed. These steps will help ensure change is adopted without a hitch.
Not challenging older generations in the workplace is a mistake. Some managers assume boomers feel settled and happy where they are, or are just working a few more years until retirement. Don’t dismiss their valuable skills due to these assumptions! Boomers appreciate new challenges and career growth as much as younger generations. Increased responsibility and the chance to have a voice in the workplace will motivate this generation greatly.
Sending out countless resumes only to sit, wait and ultimately hear nothing is a frustrating process for job seekers. What really happens to all of those finely crafted resumes? The answer: they go to die in the resume black hole.
Today’s hiring managers are inundated with so many resumes and out of necessity many of them are missed, skipped or simply tossed out – sent to the resume black hole. To ensure your resume avoids disappearance and makes it to the top of the pile, past computer filters and in front of a real person, here are a few steps you should take.
1. Polish your resume
Skip the generic jargon and customize your resume for any job you apply for. Slight tweaks help the copy align more with one position over another, which can help you get noticed. Don’t forget to have someone proofread your resume – typos, run-on sentences and poor grammar can make it an instant candidate for the resume black hole.
2. Use keywords
Industry buzzwords and keywords from the job listing should always be incorporated throughout a resume. This will help ensure it passes any computerized filtering and tracking systems. It also helps grab the attention of the hiring manager who is looking for the perfect candidate. Warning: never copy the job posting verbatim – it’s a big red flag. Instead use your own words and phrasing to create the copy.
3. Utilize your network
Your professional network is your best asset when applying for a job. If you know someone at the company, make sure he or she knows you submitted an application and kindly ask for an endorsement. That contact can send an email with your resume to the hiring manager or meet with HR directly – this almost guarantees that your resume will be reviewed more closely.
4. Apply early
Each company accepts resumes differently. Some will filter every resume that is submitted. Others will review until they have enough applicants to start interviewing and then dismiss any that come in later. To avoid losing out, apply as early as possible. Being one of the first applicants for a job opening might mean a better chance at getting noticed.
5. Go directly to the source
Cluttered and confusing job postings can leave you wondering who is really handling your resume. That’s why you should use a job search engine that indexes only the jobs that come directly from company websites, like LinkUp! You can then feel confident that your resume is going directly to the source and that it will skip the scammers and middlemen.
6. Understand the hiring process
Some companies hire very quickly while others have long, tedious hiring processes. When does the posting close? How long will it take before interviews are scheduled? Who will be contacting candidates? Although it is not always possible, having an idea of what to expect can reduce stress.
The economic debate these days, when not focused on Thomas Piketty, centers almost entirely around whether the economy, both in the U.S. and globally, is getting better or worse. As the WSJ pointed out this morning:
As stock indexes hit records last week, the bond market was waving warning flags. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both closed at record highs Friday, with the Dow at 16717.17. But bond investors have been shifting towards havens, notably U.S. Treasury bonds, a preference that often points to expectations that economic growth will falter.
The trend can be seen around the world, in the government bonds of Germany, Britain, Japan and many other countries. Demand for bonds is pushing prices up, which sends yields lower. This is disconcerting to many economists and money managers, who say the economy is rebounding after a first quarter depressed by bad weather. Better growth should stimulate demand for money, pushing interest rates and yields higher, not lower.
Falling yields are also unsettling the investment world, causing big losses for the many bond traders who bet the other way, and sowing concerns that the economy may not be as strong as people had hoped. “I am baffled and a little concerned. It makes me nervous,” said James Paulsen, Chief Investment Strategist at Wells Capital Management.
When Jim Paulsen, the most consistently bullish investor on the planet, expresses concern about the markets, it might be time to quickly head back down into the potato cellar. I’d even advise running over walking. And yet the same WSJ article indicates that Paulsen is still forecasting stronger economic growth and higher yields. Paulsen’s conflicting sentiments are well justified given the shifting winds swirling throughout the economy and the markets these days. Despite rising consumer spending and continued gains in industrial production, GDP growth actually shrank 1% in the first quarter. Most economists brushed off the negative growth as a temporary blip, perhaps weather-related, in an otherwise rosy outlook. But there remains a pervasive, nagging sense that we’re once again heading down the same rocky road we’ve travelled before. Uncertainties surround housing, inventories, the ability to sustain crazy corporate earnings, Russia/Ukraine, China, and the impact of tapering.
And in the labor market, decent job gains over the past year or so have been heavily discounted by the fact that the jobs being filled are disproportionately part-time and/or low-wage positions. Wage growth across the entire spectrum has, for the most part, been nonexistent and long-term unemployment is proving to be virtually intractable. And as we’ve pointed out in this blog over the past few months, the record for the past 3 years has been solid job gains in Q1, only to be followed by disappointing numbers in each subsequent quarter. Is this year finally going to be the year in which that cycle is broken? Who the hell knows. It’s no wonder that Paulsen and others are baffled by the current state of the economy.
Unfortunately, we’re not likely to add much clarity as to whether the tide is coming in or going out. In fact, our forecast for May is likely to further cloud the picture with our wildly bullish forecast for Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Despite the first monthly decline this year in new and total job listings last month, we’re predicting a net gain of 350,000 jobs in May. WTF?!?!?! We’ll explain.
Let’s start with the forecast for May.
As the chart below indicates, new and total job openings on LinkUp’s national job search engine, with an index of over 2 million jobs from 20,000 corporate websites, have risen sharply and consistently between January and April. Given that a job opening is a strong indicator of a future job being added to the U.S. economy, the gains seen on LinkUp foretold very strong job growth, which is exactly what we’ve seen for the past 4 months, capped off by a very strong net gain of 288,000 jobs in April (a number that surprised everyone but us).
With 15.9% and 7.7% increases in new and total job listings respectively in April, we are forecasting a net gain of 350,000 jobs in May. Admittedly, a forecast this bullish causes a bit of anxiety given how rare an occurrence it is to see job gains north of 300,000. It has only happened 3 times in the past 136 months.
With full recognition that such a number is, to some extent, the 100-year flood (or more accurately, perhaps, the once-every- 3-year flood), we are sticking with our prediction.
Unfortunately, however, the streak of consistent monthly gains in new and total job openings on LinkUp came to an abrupt halt in May, with a 7% decline in new job openings and a 2% drop in total job openings. Those declines were spread evenly throughout the country, with 40 states showing a decrease in new job listings and 38 showing a drop in total job listings.
The picture of jobs by category is equally as sobering, with a similar drop of 6% in new job openings and a 2% drop in total job openings. Again, the vast majority of categories showed declines in new and total job listings.
Given the drop in job listings on LinkUp in May, we are predicting that job gains in June will drop from what we expect to see in May to a gain of roughly 250,000 in June. To be sure, those are still very solid numbers and would cap off a fantastic quarter with a net gain of 888,000 jobs.
That would be a 100-year flood. But then again, we’ve seen equally bizarre things lately.
We will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, June 4th to walk through our current views on the labor market, our jobs data, and our forecast for job growth through the 2nd quarter. If you would like to register for the webinar, please do so here.