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August 11, 2014 / Molly Moseley

LinkUp announces the Top Rated Company Career Websites of 2014

Preview 2How do Fortune 500 companies attract top talent in the highly competitive and evolving world of recruiting? Beyond job opportunities, it’s the perception people have of these potential employers that determines whether they take the leap of faith and apply for a position.

Much of a candidate’s impression about a company comes from the career website. A chaotic and cumbersome experience will cause a candidate to wonder if those characteristics transfer into the workplace culture and team environment. On the other hand, a helpful website with great descriptions, easy search features and strong visuals speaks volumes in a positive manner.

Clearly, it’s incorrect to think a company’s career website has little effect on the candidate’s perception and potential to apply, and this leads us to wonder how top corporations are using this platform to their advantage. We dug in and analyzed the Top 25 Fortune 500 companies to determine what they are doing right and where they can improve.

We researched each based on five best-practice categories:

Visibility: Sounds elementary, but some websites make it difficult for job seekers to find open positions. That’s why visibility is critical in a topnotch career website. The best sites include a link on the homepage to the careers area, provide an option to sign up for alerts and have social media share buttons. Furthermore, the career portal is a separate site, which is helpful for job seekers who want to quickly find opportunities and additional information.

Job description: Beyond being able to find openings, a candidate must clearly understand the job’s details. Sounds simple, but it’s not. Clear, concise and straightforward job descriptions are necessary for attracting top talent and cutting down on excessive unqualified applicants. The best posts will focus heavily on the job description, and bullet points will be used rather than lengthy paragraphs.

Company profile: More than just a job, candidates today want to know what sets a certain company apart from others. It’s critical to provide insight about culture, information about awards and share some employee profiles. Pictures, video and social media links make for a stellar experience. This helps the candidate determine if a company aligns with their personality and work ethic, and also helps ensure the person ultimately hired is the right fit, which is a win-win.

User experience: It should not take a technical degree to navigate and apply for a job online. Unfortunately, too many company sites provide a complicated and frustrating application experience. The best of the best allow the candidate to easily search for jobs, upload a resume quickly and apply in two or three clicks without having to complete a registration.

Helpfulness: Finding and applying for open positions is time-consuming, and good companies will recognize this and reciprocate the effort by taking steps to inform and aid the job seeker. Helpful features include FAQ sections, information on the hiring process and expectations, special sections for unique audiences like veterans or students, and warnings about job scams.

Want to know how the Top 25 Fortune 500 sites rate in these categories? Did your company make the list? Check out the Top-Rated Career Websites Whitepaper and check out this infographic for more intriguing information.

August 7, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

Make your LinkedIn profile sparkle with these 10 tips

LinkedIn MobileVacations are done, kids are heading back to school and soon the summer will be over. It’s time to get back to a normal work routine, and part of that means updating your online image. If you ignored your LinkedIn profile throughout the lazy days of summer, you’re not alone. That’s why now is the perfect time to refresh your profile so you stand out from the crowd. Consider these 10 simple makeover ideas to help you elevate your LinkedIn profile.

1. Update experience
Make sure to add important responsibilities to your profile that may not have been applicable when you first started the position. Additionally, if you’ve been at your job for several years, you probably can remove older, unrelated positions, such as camp leader during your college years.

2. Add keywords
Keywords are important when recruiters and industry contacts are searching for relevant professionals. Make sure to add keywords in your descriptions and throughout your profile’s copy so you get noticed.

3. Expand the headline
Your profile headline shows up every time a contact adds you as a connection. Because it is highly visible, make sure those words count. Don’t be vague.

4. Refresh your head shot
A head shot adds a human element to your profile. A polished, professional photo is a must. If your photo is five years old or no longer looks like you, it’s time for a new one.

5. Claim your URL
Create a customized URL through LinkedIn, such as for example www.linkedin.com/in/georgejjackson. Using your name in the vanity URL boosts the chances it will appear in a Google search and makes it easier for people to find you.

6. Brag
Utilize sections that let you tout your professional achievements. Post certifications, awards, publications, honors, etc. If you can link to your work, such as authorship of an article in an industry journal, do so.

7. Interact daily
After ignoring your profile during summer, it’s time to get back into a regular routine of checking your profile and networking. Make it your goal to like, comment and share your network’s updates at least twice a week.

8. Get recommendations
It’s not just how many connections you have, it’s glowing recommendations that set you apart. If you have few, don’t be afraid to ask for more. Former and current coworkers, supervisors and clients are great resources.

9. Strengthen the summary
Your summary should be concise and compelling. Use at least 40 words to list your title, role, skills and experience. Refresh as necessary with new, relevant information and keywords.

10. Build your connections
Being visible in industry networks is a key benefit of LinkedIn, but you need to have enough connections. Target at least 350-500. If you have fewer than desired, it’s time to reach and out and be proactive about making connections. Lastly, connect with me to share your questions or tips on job search and LinkedIn!

August 1, 2014 / Toby Dayton

LinkUp Forecasting 225,000 Jobs In July and Strong Numbers For Rest Of 3rd Quarter

With the jobs report coming out in 45 minutes, there isn’t much time for in-depth analysis of our jobs data this month. As is the case on a few occasions every year, the 1st of the month falls on a Friday, the same day that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases their Employment Situation Report. Our monthly jobs data is compiled at about 5AM on the 1st, which gives us about 2 hours to run the numbers, work them into our forecasting model, put together some quick analysis, and write what can only be classified as a very rushed blog post. The only solace to be had this morning is that no amount of additional hours of leeway would have clarified the foggy view of our data these days.

In July, on a state by state basis, new job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine by state fell 4% from June, while total job openings fell 3%. But we use a paired month methodology in our model to account for the fact that we are always adding new companies into our search engine along with all their jobs (about 500 new companies and 100,000 jobs each month). As a result, we get 2 data points for every month – the first when we compare a give month to the prior month, and the 2nd when we compare that same month to the following month. And then we use both data points for each month in our model. In any event, there are occasionally periods where the simple comparison of job openings from one month to the next conflicts with the more complicated way in which our model is built. The past few months have been just such a case.

The second muddying factor is whether or not our data is a leading indicator by 30 days or 60 days. We start with the assumption that a job opening posted on a company website is the best indicator of a future job being added to the U.S. economy. (And 100% of LinkUp’s job openings in our search engine are indexed from company websites so there are no old jobs, no duplicates, and none of the job pollution that’s found on so may job sites these days – things like work-at-home scams, fraud, identity theft, etc.). But if a job opening is a leading indicator of a job being filled and added to the economy, is the lead-time 30 days or 60 days? Depending on what is going on in the labor market, it could be one or the other, and it shifts over time. Again, it looks like we are in a period where it is shifting, which makes it really hard to know whether or not, for example, the July numbers should be based on May or June’s LinkUp data.

So with all that pre-amble out of the way, not to mention the fact that July is a highly seasonal month, we are forecasting that the U.S. economy added a net gain of 225,000 jobs in July due to the slight drop (-2.6%) in the blended average of new and total job openings in May. Our numbers are a bit below the consensus forecast for the month.

July 2014 Jobs Forecast

While a net gain of 225,000 is a drop from the solid 288,000 jobs added in June (which will be undoubtedly adjusted in 13 minutes), it would be the 6th straight month of monthly gains above 200,000. Even more encouraging is the fact that in June and now again in July, our forecasting model shows monthly increases in job openings from the prior month which bodes well for job gains in August and September. Unfortunately, our raw data has shown declines in new and total job openings for the past 3 months, making it somewhat difficult to garner any confidence in our forecast. Given our solid track record over the past few years, however, I’m sticking with my model and it’s indicating that we’ll see 225,000 in 8 minutes and strong numbers for the rest of the 3rd quarter.

July 30, 2014 / Molly Moseley

How telecommuting can boost employee engagement

blog imageEveryone seems to have an opinion about telecommuting and workplace flexibility these days. While a myriad studies show employees want workplace flexibility more than ever, why have big companies like Yahoo and Best Buy abandoned telecommuting programs? Furthermore, does telecommuting increase or decrease employee engagement?

The demand for workplace flexibility is growing. A whopping 73 percent of employees want more flexibility in the workplace. Despite salary remaining a priority, 45 percent of working adults would give up a portion of their wages for more flexibility in the workplace.

The big issue for HR becomes how to maintain employee engagement while offering telecommuting and other flexible scheduling options to employees. After all, HR Executive magazine reports the top concern keeping HR up at night these days is engagement.

Consider these ideas that help remote employees maintain deep levels of engagement:

Management communication: Keeping a positive relationship between employees and management is key for boosting telecommuter engagement, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessary to micromanage. Instead, make regular communication a priority. That might mean staying connected via instant messenger, scheduling weekly one-on-one meetings or checking in daily via email.

Virtual all-company meetings: A telecommuter might feel connected to his or her immediate supervisor but very disconnected to the company as a whole. Encourage employee engagement by including remote staff in all-company meetings. Adding a video element to a meeting can be another way to bring everyone closer together, even if they are located on different coasts.

Think beyond the email: Yes, email is a critical component for communicating with employees, both internal and external. But communication must go beyond email to increase engagement. This is particularly important for millenial employees who rely less on email than older generations. Try using social collaboration tools and establish text messaging parameters for remote employees who prefer to stay engaged in these ways.

Blog about it: A group or company-wide blog for employees can be a great way to keep in touch, especially for those working remotely. A traditional blog with longer posts is appropriate from managers or HR leads. Microblogging – a blog with shorter, more concise posts – might be a good option for individual departments or specialty groups to encourage communication and collaboration.

Don’t forget to ask: Keeping open dialogue between employees and supervisors/HR is critical for engagement, but the quality of those conversations is just as important as the quantity. For remote employees, ask what would be most helpful for them to stay in touch, engaged and productive. Perhaps new technology would be beneficial, or maybe they have a new idea for an impactful monthly meeting.

While the element of the unknown may cause HR to worry, there’s a growing body of evidence that working remotely at least some of the time actually benefits employee engagement. The Gallup “State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders” is just one example that found this correlation (bonus: remote employees logged more hours weekly). With an open mind and a few proactive steps, telecommuting policies can boost employee morale and engagement simultaneously.

July 17, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Brandjacking: The new generation of corporate identity theft

shutterstock_140282785 (1)Every two seconds an American becomes a victim of identity theft. While personal ID protection remains top of mind, there’s another threatening aspect of identity fraud: brandjacking.

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.

July 10, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

Keep the momentum alive: How to avoid summer job search burnout

By the pool2We’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.

July 8, 2014 / Erin Slayton

From the Intern: 4 Steps to Personal Branding

4 Steps to Personal BrandingPersonal Branding

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.

July 3, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Smart recruiting tips for small to mid-sized businesses

shutterstock_180384815Quality 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.

 

July 1, 2014 / Toby Dayton

Net Gain Of 195,000 Jobs In June Will Disappoint On Thursday But Job Gains In Q2 Still Solid; July Job Gains Will Start Q3 On Sour Note

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:

Grade through May

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.

June 2014 jobs forecast

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%.

Jobs by State June 2014

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%.

Jobs by Category June 2014

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).

jobs by qtr thru june

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.

 

 

June 25, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Generation mix: Managing and motivating baby boomers

shutterstock_182373320Picture 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.

Technology
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.

Communication
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.

Approach
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.

Change
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.

Challenge
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.