I am told that the all-time best selling book on finding a job (more than 8 million copies sold) was written 37 years ago by an Episcopalian clergyman who lost his job as a pastor in San Francisco in what we today call a downsizing. Richard Nelson Bolles’s experience in losing his job, successfully finding another, and his subsequent book, What Color is Your Parachute?, changed the way people looked at the job market and transition in their lives and, I’m told by my friends at Big Ben Bookstore here in Prague, that the book has been published in Czech.
What is so compelling about Bolles’s work is its common sense. Recently, I was going through some papers and came across an interview that Daniel Pink did with Bolles in 1999 for Fast Company magazine in which he offers a powerful insight into the mechanics of looking for a job. For years I have advised people to employ a technique I call the “List of 10”, which can be found on-line in the Hospodarske noviny archives, in my May 9th, 2006 column titled “How to Find the Job You Really Want”. It wasn’t until I read this interview, though, that I gained a new perspective on the vast difference between how employers look for people to hire and how people who want to be hired go about finding each other, and I want to share it with you in the hopes that it will change the way you go about looking for a job and that it will increase the likelihood of your success.
In the interview, Bolles describes a pyramidal diagram showing the progressive steps companies typically take when looking for people they want to hire. His diagram is called “Our Neanderthal Job-Hunting System”. At the base of the pyramid, which is where companies begin the process, is “internal resources”-looking within the companies for someone to promote and also to leverage these internal resources for names of individuals known to current employees. Then they begin to move up the pyramid to other methods such as general networking, employment agencies, unsolicited resumes, and want ads. This is the way most companies go about looking for new people to hire. It just makes good sense to do it that way-start with people who know the company and its culture to see if they know of someone who might be a fit.
Now, how do you think most of us as individuals go about looking for a job? Just the opposite! That’s why Bolles calls this a Neanderthal system–nothing about it has evolved or changed since the invention of want ads. Want ads are useful, to be sure. But if reading them is your only strategy for finding a job you need to consider the benefits of evolution and change your behavior.
How, then, can you use this information to evolve and to find a job more efficiently before the “outside” world reads about it and knows that it is available and thereby give yourself an advantage over the competition? Simple. Begin your search at the bottom of the pyramid by talking directly to people who work for the companies you have targeted as highly desirable places to work and at which your talents and skills can be used. If you sat down right now and wrote down the names of just five companies that you would like to work for and which you know could use your skills and abilities and made meeting someone inside each of those companies your main goal, you would be surprised how much easier it is to accomplish than you think it is. The method for doing this is described in my previous column mentioned above, but for today, let’s take a look at why it’s so effective.
It’s more effective because you go straight to the source. It’s the same approach we use in everyday life. Suppose you wanted to meet someone, say a man or woman whom you’d like to ask to dinner, whom you hadn’t personally met yet, how would you do it in a way that would increase the likelihood of that person accepting your invitation? You would ask someone to introduce you who knows you both and who has the respect of the person you wish to meet. Ideally, this person would also know enough about you to be able to describe your wonderful characteristics and to suggest an introduction. For many years in the business world we have called this technique “meeting someone on a favorable basis” and it is a powerful differentiator.
So, apply this logic to your job hunt-spend more time working the bottom of the pyramid than the top and you will greatly increase the chances of your success.
Good luck on the way up!
You have probably often heard that making eye contact during a job interview is very important. Do you know when to look at your interviewer and when to look away? A very shy person, who is unsure of himself during an interview, may not look at the person interviewing him enough, and will unintentionally communicate his uncertainty. A lack of confidence in yourself translates to the interviewer as a lack of ability to do the job.
Making eye contact with your interviewer should feel natural. There are times in conversation when you look away and think about what you are going to say. It is perfectly acceptable if your eyes look up as you are remembering an example you want to tell the interviewer. This is a natural reaction when we are thinking. We look up, we may look to the side when we are remembering something. Avoid looking down, however, when you are thinking about what your answer will be. Looking down is a sign of shame or embarrassment. You do not want to convey either of those messages.
Be sure that you do not make eye contact more than you would in a normal conversation. When you answer a question, be sure to look at the interviewer as you are speaking. If you have more than one person interviewing you, you can easily look at one person, speak several words and then shift to make eye contact with another person in the room who is also interviewing you.
Looking too long at someone without a break becomes a stare, or intense and intrusive looking. Remember that in the animal kingdom a direct stare, or a prolonged look directly into the eyes is a direct threat and can lead to an attack. You certainly do not want your interviewer to feel that you are trying to intimate or being aggressive.
How can you find out if you are making the right amount of eye contact before you go on a job interview? Make a list of three questions that you would expect to be asked in an interview. Then, think about how you want to answer those questions.
Next ask a friend or family member to ask you the three questions you have chosen. Ask him or her to notice how often you make eye contact and whether or not you are looking down when you pause to think. Ask if your eye contact was comfortable for the person who is asking the interview questions. Ask if there were any times when he or she wanted you to look at them, but you did not.
If you get all positive results, then good. You might want to ask someone else to do the same exercises with you. It is always good to have more than one opinion. If your feedback was that you did not make enough eye contact or that you looked down when thinking, then keep practicing.
Be aware whenever you have a conversation of how often you look at the person in the eyes. Be aware of where you look when you break eye contact and keep training yourself not to look down. Practice until you know that making eye contact is not an issue for you. You want to focus more on the questions during the job interview, so you can give your best answers.
Easter Becker-Smith is a trusted leadership and development life coach. She has interviewed thousands of people throughout her business career. Her blog at http://coacheaster.com is very helpful and insightful for keeping a positive mindset while job searching. She also offers on tips on job interviewing skills, as well as workshops and one on one job interviewing coaching.
The informational interview is one of the most effective tools that a job seeker can deploy. If you aren’t using informational interviews on a consistent basis, you need to start, because there is no doubt they will increase your chances of getting a job offer.
An informational interview involves contacting an employee who works for a company in an industry that you are interested in exploring. You will interview the employee to find out the “realities” of his/her job and the positives and negatives of his/her industry. The objective is to learn as much as possible about the employee’s job, company and industry.
You will benefit from informational interviews by:
1. Learning more about the industry, company and position in which you have an interest
2. Building a relationship and expanding your network
3. Improving your confidence by increasing your knowledge of the industry
4. Differentiating yourself from other job seekers by showing initiative
5. Helping you determine if you are a good fit for the job and industry.
It is important to research the company and industry prior to the interview in order to prepare relevant questions. Go to the Web and Google: “Questions to ask in an informational interview”. You will find several articles with hundreds of sample questions that you can choose from.
The articles also will push you to think of additional, original questions. An average informational interview lasts 20-60 minutes. Make sure you bring more questions than you will have time to ask. You will want to take advantage of the entire time allotted for the interview.
1. You’re the one who gets to ask the questions.
2. You won’t be under pressure to come up with good answers to an interviewer’s tough questions.
Recent college graduates who make the effort to use informational interviews effectively in their job search efforts will reap huge benefits.
A few months ago, I asked Blaine Morris how a recent college graduate could enter the pharmaceutical business. Morris, until his retirement in 2009, spent 32 years as a sales representative, national account manager and district sales manager with Johnson & Johnson. Morris offered the following suggestions:
“First dig in and try to learn as much about the job and company as possible. There are many ways to do this but none more valuable than to contact a person already in the position that a candidate would like to interview for and ask appropriate questions. I would request to shadow that person for a day and interact with his or her customer base to get a take on the job responsibilities and the (customers’) likes and dislikes of the current sales representatives that call on them. Once candidates have gathered this information they should honestly assess their motivational fit for such a position and then outline their strengths and weaknesses as they go into the interviewing process.”
If you are a career changer, you can use informational interviews to explore positions in other industries. This will allow you to evaluate whether a career in any given industry will be compatible with your skills, interests, lifestyle and goals.
Are informational interviews worth your time and effort? Katherine Hansen is a believer. Hansen is the author of “A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way Into the Hidden Job Market”. She writes: “While one out of every 200 resumes – some studies put the number as high as 1,500 resumes – results in a job offer, one out of every 12 informational interviews results in a job offer. That’s why informational interviewing is the ultimate networking technique, especially considering that the purpose of informational interviews is not to get job offers.”
A job offer occasionally comes from the company with which you have conducted the informational interview. That is not your objective, however. Nor should you ask for a job interview during an informational interview. Remember, you have two objectives in an informational interview:
1. To find out as much information about the industry, company and specific job responsibilities from the person you are interviewing
2. To increase your network by building relationships in your chosen industry
Informational interviews require you to take initiative. They require you to be proactive. They require you to step outside your comfort zone. Companies can train employees in a lot of areas but they cannot train someone to take initiative. Conducting informational interviews will help you stand out among other interviewees.
Make it one of your goals this week to schedule an informational interview with someone who has a job in an industry that interests you. Once you have secured your first informational interview, start scheduling others and see the positive difference they will make in your job search.
If you’re getting calls for interviews then that means that a potential employer was highly impressed by your resume and want to meet you in person to discuss a potential job offer. But to get this job interview, your resume has to first do the job of impressing a potential employer – and this is what this article will focus on.
Your resume can either present you very well, or leave a “not-so-impressive” impression on your potential employer – so it’s crucial that your resume favors you in the best light. Here are a few tips that will allow you to gain a favorable eye in your employers point of view:
1) State your position at the top of your resume
The position you’re applying for should be stated at the very beginning of your resume. You should also have an objective that shows that you are interested and that you know the details of the job in mind. By stating the position at the beginning of your resume, you immediately gain the attention of your potential employer and it lets them know that you could be a potential candidate for the position.
2) Use power words
You can really get an employer’s attention by using certain words in your resume. The use of certain words highlights and amplifies your attributes, and assists in helping the employer see you the way that you see yourself. So when creating your resume, be sure to use words that really point out your features. You goal is to paint a mental image in your employer’s mind that you are the perfect person for the position. And that is what the use of certain words will give you.
3) Use bullet points
Bullet points on resumes are a good thing and they are easy to read. When you use bullet points in your resumes, you make it easier for your potential employer to see your achievements and what you can do, so don’t be shy when using them.
You can use bullet points to highlight your qualifications, recognitions, job tasks, and key skills that you feel are important to the job in question.
4) Tailor your resume to the job in question
You should make sure that your resume is niche specific. Don’t try to be everything to everybody because when you do you will gain the attention of no one. So be sure to submit one resume to one organization. This way you will be perceived as a specialist to everybody, and a generalist to no one.
5) Ask for help
You should use the advice of friends and family members when creating your resume. Have someone overlook your resume for areas of improvement so that you can have the greatest chance of success.
All 5 of these tips will go a long way in making sure that you have the best resume as possible to submit to employers. If you can follow these tips and employ the use of others, then more than likely you will have an impressive resume that no employer can resist. Good luck.
By Adrian Hargray. Learn resume writing tips you can use to land the job of your dreams. To learn more, visit the following website for more details: http://www.instant-downloadz.com/impressiveresumes.html
Many recent graduating college seniors have sent their 100th resume to prospective employers. In response to a dismal job market, one recent grad, Scott Gerber , has his answer: Don’t get a real job. Start your own business.
“Graduates can no longer rely on large companies to provide them with decent wages, job security and benefits,” cautions Scott Gerber, proprietor of an entrepreneurial incubator and columnist for Entrepreneur.com. “Instead, they should rely on themselves, and move faster, smarter and more effectively than larger companies. My advice to this year’s graduates: Focus on your big idea. Build a team of peers to execute. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Swing for the fences.”
Today, small businesses represent more than 99 percent of all employers. They employ 51 percent of private-sector workers and 40 percent of all workers in high-tech jobs. Small business produce 60 to 80 percent of new U.S. jobs. So what are business schools teaching now?
B-schools In Touch With The Times “Business schools around the world are on this,” say Jerry Trapnell. “Entrepreneurship is a mainstream part of the agenda.” He should know. As Executive Vice President of the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), he has access to what is happening at 11,000 B-schools globally and intimate knowledge of the 568 his organization accredits in 31 countries.
AACSB exec Jerry Trapnell says entrepreneurship is a mainstream part of the agenda at business schools around the world. Emily Cieri, Managing Director of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, claims the entrepreneurial program there dates back to 1973. In the U.S., about 400 business schools have entrepreneurial programs, from undergraduate to doctoral. Included are schools with traditional finance and/or accounting tracks. There are others like Babson College whose principal focus is entrepreneurial. And those schools in or near California’s Silicon Valley are geared to high-tech activity and mindset.
“Wharton, the nation’s first business school, is also the first or one of the first to have a formal entrepreneurial program,” claims Emily Cieri, Managing Director of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs. “It began in 1973, but has really cranked up during the last decade.” Wharton offers PhD, MBA and undergraduate degrees, as well as executive and certificate programs. Co-curricular and extra-curricular participation is an essential ingredient in the Wharton experience.
The Wharton Business Plan Competition (WBPC) is in its eleventh year. In the fall, teams of 8 – 10 students, working with an advisor, develop a business plan for their start-up company. A panel of experts provides feedback. In January, teams present an executive summary of how they will execute, including marketing and finance details. The top 25 teams present complete plans in March. Finalists, known each year as “the Great Eight,” compete for $70,000 in prize money in rapid-fire presentations to a panel of five venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
In all, 350 students (a third of whom are women) and 250 outside judges participate. The WBPC has generated 150 unique businesses or business ideas in operation today. Teams often include students from life sciences, engineering, arts and communications and occasionally someone from the outside.
Another 25 percent of students are involved in Wharton Venture Initiation, from which 24 business ideas are incubated. Winners are given physical space in the incubator center, a monthly meeting with an advisor, workshops, a chance to meet with various experts and opportunities to network with Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial community. The university has no equity stake in these start-ups.
Creativity or Business Mechanics? Yes, entrepreneurs need business courses, say Cieri and Trapnell. Entrepreneurs need the same basic skills as the corporate career person: marketing, finance, operations and legal.
Do entrepreneurs need something else from school, like creativity and idea generation perhaps? Opinions differ. Wharton offers just one creativity course per se as part of the marketing curriculum. However, Trapnell offers that “Creativity is not limited to art students.”
Scott Gerber took a different route. He’s a graduate of New York University, but not NYU’s Stern School of Business. NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts gave him exposure to acting, performance, music, theatre, film and television, telecommunications and cinema studies.
Gerber recalls: “My training was not so much in business knowledge, but knowing people, making something happen, creating your own work, not waiting for people to come to you.” Gerber’s advice to business school deans: “Motivate students to know what they are capable of, not what they’ve been told.”
From an interview by Tom Robinson of Greentree Gazette
It is really hard getting your resume noticed. We could have researched the Internet for advices about creating the best resume and cover letter. We could have listed all of our achievements, previous employment experiences and responsibilities. But sometimes, we just do not get a call back. Our school records may show that we are just an average student. So, how do you stand out from hundreds of applicants?
When I was applying for a freelance position, I noticed that there is now a space where I can upload a video resume. I cannot attest to the effectiveness of it because I am not a hiring officer of a company nor have I tried creating one. I have never been hired because my employers were impressed with my video. But, because it is gaining popularity, we might as well try and prepare one.
Video resume is being able to let your prospective employer see the real you. The kind of stuff they will not see on paper. They will be able to see how well you carry yourself, how you converse, if you are witty and funny and a lot more.
Making a video resume is fairly easy. All you need is a video camera or a digital camera that has a video feature in it. You will also need to have a computer or you can go to a professional in order to get your video edited properly. If you have video editing skills, then you can just do it yourself.
Before making one, keep in mind the following:
1. Dress appropriately like you would in an actual face-to-face interview.
2. Choose a location to shoot where there is no mess and no distractions.
3. Do know what you are applying for so that the talking points will be relevant to the job you are applying for.
4. You can research ahead of time some possible questions an interviewer may want to know and then you can talk about that in your video resume.
5. Do speak clearly and confidently. The best thing about video resume is that you can always edit the video and re-do certain portions.
6. Submit a video that truly represent you to your employer and that is telling them how right you are for the position.
7. Do not forget to state your name and contact details at the end of the video.
8. Most importantly, keep the video short. The video can be 2-3 minutes long which is enough for your employers to get a look and feel of you in the video.
With that being said, all you need is your guts and confidence in facing a video and uploading them for viewing. What I always like to do before an interview is to create scripts to answer possible questions. This will help me arrange my thoughts and limit mistakes. You can do that too while recording your video resume.
By Making A Video Resume.
There is a rule in journalism: put the most important, impactful, sensational content on the first page, “above the fold.” The same rule also applies to resumes: Sell yourself skillfully and effectively in the first half of the first page (because the Hiring Manager may not read the rest!) The Summary of Qualifications is your chance to summarize your solution to the Hiring Manager’s need, in 4 or 5 sentences, at the top of your resume. You don’t want to waste that opportunity with a lame SoQ. A brilliant Summary will probably get the HM to read the rest of your resume – and with a very positive attitude.
Think of the Summary of Qualifications as a snapshot of yourself, geared-up with all the equipment needed to accomplish a task – in other words, with all the capabilities listed to impact the HM’s decision on who can fill this position. It is a vibrant portrait that illuminates your qualifications, and shows proof of your competencies. It must be designed to have the HM nodding her head and shouting YES!
How an SoQ Works
Structurally, the SoQ is not a true paragraph, even though it looks like one. A paragraph treats one theme or idea; an SoQ deals with a collection of your highest level accomplishments and professional traits. It is short and punchy, using power words, but never lapsing into self-adulation. The word “I” is never used, as it is understood that you are writing about yourself.
A strong Summary of qualifications may have different content for different applications, but here is one of the possibilities. Let’s take this example apart, sentence by sentence. It is for an Operations Executive.
“High performance, result-driven Technology and Operations Professional with extensive experience clearing the business path and leading the way. Manages Information Systems, Recruiting, Human Resources, Facilities and Administration, for one of Inc Magazine’s 500 fastest growing, privately held companies. A career demonstrating exceptional leadership and performance in mounting growth strategies, and new levels of productivity and effectiveness. A history of delivering significant bottom line results, building and maintaining key relationships, and creating solutions to issues impacting company objectives. Holds an MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.”
Sentence 1: High performance, result-driven Technology and Operations Professional with extensive experience clearing the business path and leading the way.
Two power phrases: high performance, results-driven. Both speak to the HM’s need for a pro that will take charge, and “drive” results. While this candidate’s job title is Vice President of Operations, he uses a broader title in the SoQ: Technology and Operations Professional. This sets the stage for the HM to think of the candidate as having a broad background. Clearing the business path and leading the way. That is exactly what the CEO wants him to do, and he is saying to her that he can do it.
Sentence 2: Manages Information Systems, Recruiting, Human Resources, Facilities and Administration, for one of Inc Magazine’s 500 fastest growing, privately held companies.
Sentence 2 is an expansion of the first sentence. How does he lead the way? By managing 4 major areas of the company. And the company is one of Inc Magazine’s 500 fastest growing, privately held companies. A company that has really challenged and tested him. And he passed! This sentence could be taken from his Career Accomplishments section.
Sentence 3: A career demonstrating exceptional leadership and performance in mounting growth strategies, and new levels of productivity and effectiveness.
In this sentence he captures the essence of “Making it Happen as a VP”
– exceptional leadership and performance. And this leadership and performance is driving growth strategies and new levels of (employee) performance. He is saying: “Hire me, and I’ll help your company grow and thrive.”
Sentence 4: A history of delivering significant bottom line results, building and maintaining key relationships, and creating solutions to issues impacting company objectives.
In this sentence he says that he makes money, makes friends that help him make more money, and makes problems – that interfere with making money – go away. The 3 Ps on a CEO’s wish list: Profit, partnerships, and problem-solving.
Sentence 5: Holds an MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.
This ending just sweetens the prize for the HM. For at least 2 years, this candidate lived and breathed Business.
You can see that each sentence builds on the one before it, and if there is a single theme, it is Competence. If Hiring Managers had to sum up what they were looking for in one word, many of them would choose the word Competence. Imagine, showing your top level skills and accomplishments in the first 5 sentences of your resume. That should make you happy. The only thing that may dull that happiness is that now, the rest of the resume must live up to the Summary.
Philip Schoen is a resume writer and editor with over 20 years experience making a difference in people’s careers. He is the executive director of ResumeReview.net, a business devoted to making resumes and cover letters the best that they can be. For more articles on managing your career, click the link above.
These are just some of the questions you could be asked at an interview. Because most of us view interviews with the same sense of anticipation as we would about a visit to the dentist we often do not think about them. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Tell me about yourself?
2. Why do you want to work here?
3. How do you feel you can help or company / organisation?
4. If you were choosing someone for this position, what kind of person would you select?
5. Why do want to go into the ________________field?
6. If you feel you have any weakness with regard to this position, what would it be?
7. What are some of your weaknesses?
8. What do you expect in this position that you were not getting in your past positions?
9. How do you feel about working extra hours?
10. Where do you see yourself in 3 years? In five years?
11. How would you handle this problem? (After the interviewer describes a complex problem)
12. Are your considering other positions at this time? How does this one compare with them?
13. Why did you leave your last position?
14. How long have you been out of work?
16. How did you like working at ______________company? Why?
17. What are your short / long range goals? How do you expect to meet them?
18. What does success mean to you?
19. What motivates you? How do you motivate others? Especially those with performance problems?
20. Do you plan to get further education, degrees?
21. What have you done to improve yourself during the last year?
22. How do you spend your spare time?
23. Tell me about your health?
24. If you could relive your last 15 years, what changes would you make?
25. Tell me about your greatest achievement / disappointment in life
26. What did you like best / lest in your last position?
27. Do you prefer working alone or as part of a team?
28. What are some of the more difficult problems you encountered in your past positions? How did you solve them?
29. When was the last time you felt enthusiastic about helping a colleague or staff member succeed? Explain.
30. Did you ever make suggestions to management? What happened?
31. What do you think management could do to make you function more effectively?
32. What has kept you from progressing as fast as you would like?
33. Tell me about the best / worst boss you ever had?
34. What do people criticise you about?
35. What are your pet peeves?
36. What is your leadership style?
37. Are you geographically mobile, either now, or in the future?
38. What else do you think I should know about you?
39. What is your philosophy of life? Of work? Of your field?
40. Can we check your references, and what would they say about you?
41. What kinds of people do you find difficult to work with?
42. What can you offer us that someone else can’t?
43. Can you work well under stress?
44. Describe the biggest crisis in your life?
45. Have you ever been fired?
46. Tell me about the last incident that made you angry? How did you handle it?
47. What do you really want to do in life?
48. Does your employer know that you are planning to leave?
49. How would your subordinates describe you? Your peers?
50. What is the biggest mistake you ever made?
These are just some suggestions for sample job interview questions which is why you should sign up for my 5 day job hunting course at http://www.careers-advisor.com
Peter Robson has over 20 years experience in the career guidance industry. he has worked with people from a variety of job backgrounds and industries. He works with people individually as well as project managing large outplacement assignments.
After any interview, you want to make sure they remember you. That is where interview follow up comes into play. In our technological society today, you have several options for follow up on an interview.
Follow up on your interview could be considered the third step in your interview process. The first being a resume’ and the second being the actual interview. The second step is, of course, the most difficult part of the process. Once you have completed the interview and left, what you believe to be a lasting impression, it is time for the icing on the cake. Some people don’t look at this step as an important one. What they don’t realize though is by not doing follow up; it may cost them the position.
A follow up call is probably the most personable way to say “thank you” for the interview. There is no need to make this a lengthy call. A simple “just wanted to call and say thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I enjoyed getting to know more about the position and meeting you”. You can be sure that their schedule is busy, so choose the day and time you call carefully. If they inform you the candidate has already been chosen, and then let them know, should something not work out, you would still be interested in the position. By doing this, it lets them know that they may not have to go through the whole interview process again. Or they may suggest you for a different position with the company.
If you are not comfortable with making that call, mailing them a note or sending them an email is another option. Always make sure you thank them for taking the time out of there day to meet with you. Not only does this let them know you are serious about the position, but it always shows them that you understand that there time is valuable. This will leave them with something that they can look at and remember your name. In order to make this impression lasting, make sure to check for proper spelling of all the names you will be including in your letter.
Once you have made that phone call or sent that letter of thanks, don’t get pushy. If you don’t hear back from them after 2 calls, let I go. They probably have filled the position. There is a difference in making a good impression with follow up and becoming an irritating bother. In order to be considered for a possible position in the future, make sure you leave them with a good memory of your contact.
Looking for work can become an overwhelming chore. With all the competition quantity usually must be coupled with quality to hit the goal. Look at Target Jobs for helpful solutions. Sound information saves one’s time searching for what works through having to look at what does not. Getting trustworthy assistance should enhance your likelihood in distancing yourself from the competition.
The employment marketplace is perpetually shifting and the individuals who can adapt the fastest will be the people that have the first pick in the greatest opportunities. Through the accessibility of information and the advancements in computer, looking for employment is not what it used to be. The game has changed in a big way and now people have got to not only have the ability to deliver a total package of skills and knowledge for the profession but be required to also learn extra expertise to even be given an job interview for the job you want.
Who’s in Your Circle?
Each of us has a circle of friends, acquaintances, colleagues, coworkers, parents from the PTA, fellow soccer coaches, members of the knitting club, and so forth. Many job seekers have a robust circle of connections in the offline realm. In the online space, the circles can vary somewhat dramatically. In the online environment, ask yourself, “Who am I connected to?” and “Through which social networking sites am I connected to them?”
For those of who are already using social networking aggressively for people-searching and professional career-oriented networking, you have already established a great foundation-well done! If you are not quite as social networking/social media savvy or up to speed as you may be on the ‘people/career search’ curve, now is the time to start.
Even if you have been a longtime social network user for personal connections, you may not be aware of how best to employ social networking as a central part of your career-building activities or on behalf of people-searching as a tool to drive job leads.
Most people are still using online social communities as they were originally intended. They use them as “social communication/stay-in-touch/what’s up” vehicles with their “connections” tending to be more of the friends and family variety as opposed to business/professional networking contacts.
Personal Networks and Circles of Influence
The term “circles of influence” is one more familiar to those of us in sales/business development roles (particularly those in the insurance business), and those with a strong background in professional networking. It’s not a term that means much to those outside these areas.
It refers to an individual’s personal contacts, specifically those who exert some level of influence on others around them-their “circle.”
The influence or “sway” that they have may be due to several factors: their standing in the community or business world; special educational achievements; unique/special talents/skills; dynamic/magnetic personality; high moral/ethical character; polished speaking skills; or military prowess. Because of these traits, these individuals are looked up to and command a level of respect and credibility that others may not possess, and they tend to be well connected to other important people.
And as a result of their influence, these ‘centers of influence’ can be very helpful in opening doors for others, whether to new business opportunities/deals, providing access to VIPs or “inside” political contacts/powerful people, and making important financial/banking connections. However, this only applies if you know them and they know you. Remember that relationship building/social networking is a two-way street.
And when it comes to career/job help, having several of these folks whom you know and are known to you on some personal level can be worth their weight in gold.
They can point you toward others you don’t yet know who may be able to help you with your people search. Remember, always focus on people/relationships first; job opportunities follow).
Certainly, you have a competitive advantage if you have several solid ‘centers of influence’ in your personal network of family, friends, and business acquaintances. You can always ‘tap’ them if you need help of some sort that they can provide.
By starting with the people you know personally, and connecting in an ever- widening network to others they know, and continue to connect to additional contacts, you will come across and develop new centers of influence.
It’s those folks and your proper approach and cultivation that can and will result in helping you tap into others that they know. They will aid in your people-search process and ultimate goal of realizing a satisfactory employment opportunity and perhaps many more.
Power Referrals…Plug into the Juice
Referrals are the name of the game. And more to the point are power referrals. These can include centers of influence, but your referrals certainly don’t have to be. Your referrals can turn on some serious social networking ‘juice’ for you.
In social networking lingo, a power referral is someone you may know-or if you don’t, you can gain an introduction to-who can help get you introduced to other people they know, that you want or need to reach, such as a hiring authority at one of your Top 10 companies.
In some cases, these power referrers can open the door to multiple people you want to talk to. The best-case scenarios is that you develop a really good relationship with them, resulting in them becoming your advocate and/or coach. This makes them extremely valuable to your people-search cause and ultimate objective.
Power referrers can be immensely helpful, but they need to be nurtured and developed before you can approach them with your main goals. This may mean getting introduced to them and having them get you an introduction to the people they know. From the first contact/introduction through building your relationship, how you approach them is a key to moving your agenda forward.
Start with Your Core Personal Network
It doesn’t matter if you have five, 50, or 500 people you know in your current personal network. This is your core: Start with them. Even though these are people you know personally – friends, acquaintances, relatives, business peers, co-workers, church contacts-.you still want to start your approach with the social side of things.
The first thing is ensure your list is as complete as possible. Why? Because every single one of those people knows someone else. Maybe it’s just seven, but maybe it’s several thousand other people. You don’t know. Nor do you know where your next career opportunity will come from. Life is strange that way. Never overlook anyone. Leave no stone unturned.
You will want to divide your core list into two groups-those who you know well and with whom you’re in contact regularly, and those who don’t know you nearly as well (but need to).
If you have a strong existing relationship and regular communication with a contact, you can jump right in, broadcasting your message of a needed job change or new employment. Hopefully that will produce some potential employer “interest” or news of job openings to pursue.
The other part of your list-those family, more casual friends, and acquaintances who don’t really know you that well or with whom you’re not in touch regularly-will require more effort, as you will need to start forging closer connections with them
Because there’s some sort of prior connection in place already, reach out to them, but not about your job situation. Start with a ‘Hi, what’s new, how’ve you been?’ approach.
Re-establish the rapport or connection you initially made. Find or rediscover common ground and interests. Learn what’s new with the family, their life, their kids, vacations they’ve taken, recent home improvements, or mutual friends in common. Show interest-sincere and genuine interest. And actively LISTEN to what they have to say which will help you reconnect with them.
Build on your reconnecting efforts with multiple follow ups, but do it naturally. You don’t want to leave the impression with them of, “What does he/she WANT with me?”
Once you’ve rebuilt these relationships,then you can ask for some help and share your employment situation/needs. Due to having had a prior connection with them, it will take less time to get to this point than if you were starting from scratch.
Depending on how ‘local’ your core network is, you can integrate some more traditional networking avenues into your plans. Move to arranging a lunch meeting, find out more about their job, industry and work. Ask for suggestions, help with a resume review, or general advice. It’s about creating and nurturing trust, credibility, and likeability.
Set yourself a schedule of calling on and talking with a certain number of your personal network each day, week, and month. Commit to following through and doing what you set out to do. Remember: consistency counts in your targeted people search.
Sherrie A. Madia, Ph.D. is an educator, author, and trainer. Her most recent books include The Social Media Survival Guide (Also available in Spanish), The Online Job Search Survival Guide, and S.E.R.I.A.L.PRENEURSHIP: The Secrets of Repeatable Business Success. She is frequently cited by the national media as an expert in social media. She is Director of Communications, External Affairs, and a Lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
To schedule an individual consultation or group workshop on online job-search, visit http://www.OnlineJobSearchBook.com.
The Smallest Marketing Tool Boasts Maximum Power
Job searches average six months! Good strategies, like a targeted position, networking or relationship building, a great resume and an effective short “pitch” will all tighten the job hunt timeline. Innovative ideas, used wisely, can accelerate those timelines further. Re-inventing the business card as a job search tool can be a powerful addition to the job hunter’s strategies.
This card, whether named a networking card, calling card, or job search card, is a self-marketing tool, as are the resume and cover letter. It has one great advantage: its size. Unlike the resume, it is easy to carry, readily accessible, and, easily tucked into the recipient’s wallet, unlikely to be prematurely discarded.
The card’s contents are critical. At the very least, it must contain the obvious: name, contact info, and the position you are looking for. But, in creating such a card, you must also pay attention to the use of colour and design elements. Too much colour and you’ll put people off; too much info, and you’ll confuse the eye, too much design (unless you are in the arts) and you’ll look outlandish.
Communicate Your Value Most importantly, your card must contain a tag line or value proposition. With a few well-chosen bits of information, your words can influence the recipient’s interest. Remember that money talks: show how your employ benefited a past employer. If you didn’t generate income (as our sample Sales Manager below), perhaps you redistributed tasks and reduced payroll by one position; improved customer service and significantly reduced time spent dealing with complaints; aligned a Human Resource process with business needs that supported a corporate goal; improved hiring strategies and reduced turnover; revitalized a downtown core by identifying, customizing and implementing a trend… the possibilities are limitless.
With advances in technology, anyone with a computer and printer can generate his or her own cards. No need to pay for printing, if cost is a factor. For a small investment, the job hunter can reap huge dividends.
The How-to’s In addition to your contact info, add a LinkedIn profile address if you have one, and list your title or the position you are going for. Finish with a bullet or two that show your accomplishments. (If you are tech-savvy, you may choose to distribute information on both front and back of the card.)
Here’s a sample:
Joseph P. Jobhunter address contact info LinkedIn address
– history of increasing market share, identifying new sales channels, and leading national sales teams to No. I by exceeding sales goals
What a great first impression. It stirs immediate interest, and can provide that much-needed competitive edge in today’s challenging job search environment.
Award-winning and published professional resume writer, Stephanie Clark, is owner of New Leaf Resumes, a full-time resume writing and interview coaching service. Her global clients range from entry to senior level, and have one thing in common: serious about managing their career options, they appreciate working with an expert.
Published in several American and Canadian career publications, Stephanie also writes a weekly career article for a local daily paper.
Stephanie Clark delivers strategic resumes and unforgettable cover letters by staying ahead of industry trends through participation in, and leadership of, classes in resume design and content development. She continues to hone her own talents with classes from America’s leading resume writers, Louise Kursmark and Wendy Enelow, of the renown Resume Writing Academy.
Recently invited to contribute as an Invited Expert Blogger, you can follow Stephanie’s interview blog at http://www.careerthoughtleaders.com/blog.
The most successful job searches are neither dumb luck nor magic. They are developed from strong networks that the job seeker has already built, both online and off. Effective job seekers must integrate social media outreach with the more traditional approach in order to present a consistent, aligned, professional image.
Recruiters are evaluated in part based on their abilities to screen qualified applicants, so they don’t react well to surprises, such as candidates whose interviews present an entirely different person from what is stated or implied on the resume. Job seekers often forget that human resource professionals are looking for the candidate they saw on paper, online, and in a profile photo-so consistency counts!
The best recommendation is that job seekers include links to their blog, LinkedIn profile, YouTube video resume-whatever online elements they have created-on their traditional resume. Standardize profiles across all social media sites, and link them together.
Candidates must position themselves effectively where recruiters are searching, as well as become content producers in order to attract recruiters directly to them. Bear in mind the current state of the job market:
In addition to the standard-issue background and employer checks, hiring managers-and even college admissions officers-are turning to social networking sites to delve more deeply into the background of applicants. If you think this is unfair, think again. The Internet is not a private club for you and your friends. It’s a public space.
The rule used to be that anything on your resume was fair game for an interviewer to consider. While this is still the case, the same is now true for anything on the Internet that has your name attached to it-including your Facebook wall. If you don’t like the odds that a recruiter will check out your wall of potentially inappropriate updates, the best advice is to clean your wall.
Like anything else in the realm of social media, candidates should not forego traditional job-search fare in favor of a strict social-media diet of job search. Candidates should continue to post their credentials to job banks, respond to corporate postings, attend career and job fairs, and so forth.
That said, note that this type of activity would have been primary in the past, but today’s candidate needs to have a 21st century mentality about job search. While some attention should be devoted to traditional job search methods, the majority should be geared toward social media strategies-regardless of industry or job type. Social media is simply a more efficient way to find yourself a job sooner rather than later.
Good luck with your job search!
Sherrie A. Madia, Ph.D. is an educator, author, and trainer. Her most recent books include The Social Media Survival Guide (Also available in Spanish), The Online Job Search Survival Guide, and S.E.R.I.A.L.PRENEURSHIP: The Secrets of Repeatable Business Success. She is frequently cited by the national media as an expert in social media. She is Director of Communications, External Affairs, and a Lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
To schedule an individual consultation or group workshop on online job-search, send an email to: [email protected] or visit http://www.OnlineJobSearchBook.com.