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Advance your Career with “Career Advancement Strategies” Workshops

Trojan Search has partnered with Women in Management (WIM) to present “Career Advancement Strategies” workshops, the first of which were held on August 13 and 14 at both campuses. A final workshop is scheduled for August 27 at the Health Sciences Campus (10-11:30 am; HSC NTT 7409; Norris Topping Tower, also check the WIM Calendar). Members of Trojan Search presented an overview of the job market, noting that the typical time from application to first interview averages one month, at minimum. They noted the key difference between recruiters and HR generalists as “the hunters and the gathers.” More specifically, recruiters actively seek top talent while general HR gathers submitted applications for specific jobs.

Top tools used by recruiters? You guessed, it: LinkedIn. Alby Bocanegra, Diversity Recruiter at USC Trojan Search, demonstrated the recruiter side of the industry giant. He showed how key terms narrowed the search on his end. For example, an executive, who is an accountant, with an MBA: each additional term narrowed down the search, from upwards of 500,000 to 100,000 to approximately 24,000. He said that that search is something that each and every job seeker needs to take into account. Those key terms matter. If you are lacking in a skill, take a course online, and note the course in your profile. Volunteer to do work to show that you have experience in a particular area that may not be present in your work history– and note it in your LinkedIn profile. In this way, the recruiter can mark you as a candidate with all the skills required of the position.

Alby Bocanegra and Whitney Warnes of USC HR. Whitney also graces the WIM Board as Treasurer this year.

Bocanegra advised attendees to follow the companies they are interested in working for on LinkedIn. If a recruiter notices a candidate and sees that he is following the company, she will be more likely to consider him. Bocanegra said the same goes for organizations. He urged job seekers to join Meetups and diversity groups, attend organizational functions and industry conferences. Eighty percent of referrals are from the people you know, i.e. your networks. He suggested that just signing up for a conference, can be as effective as attending a conference. As a recruiter, he will go to conference attendee lists to scope out who is attending the event.

Everyone should upgrade to the premium LinkedIn account when actively seeking a position. (Bocanegra promised he was not sponsored by LinkedIn and suggested ways to get a deal on the premium service.) Just as companies pay Google to get to the top of the list consistently in Google searches, savvy jobseeker should upgrade on LinkedIn to get to the top of the LinkedIn searches.

The attendees in Norris Topping Tower, 7th Floor conference room.

Attendees were led through various exercises to consider their strengths and weaknesses and to develop their elevator pitch and personal branding. At the end of the session, Stacy Patterson, President of Women in Management (WIM), said that USC managers and employees, recently trained coaches, following International Federation Coaching guidelines (another venture of TrojanLearn), were available for free coaching sessions to help interested individual maximize their potential to accomplish personal and professional goals. Patterson encouraged attendees to make use of this free service. Attendees were directed to contact Elaine Padilla at As always women were encouraged to become members of WIM and to strengthen their network and support structure here at USC.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg—sign up for the last session, August 27, to get the full scoop on how to “step up” and advance into your next position. Here is the Career Advancement Strategies training on Trojan Learn.