Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or Treat

Sometimes your opportunity search feels like an evening during Halloween where it is "trick" or "treat". Then it seems more like trick. Remember that Babe Ruth struck out more times than he hit home runs. You are playing a numbers game here. The more people you see, talk with and meet the closer you are to your next position.

When out trick or treating we like to fill our sack with all kinds of sweets. Once we get home we tend to sort through it and pick our favorites. Some will eat the rejects first and keep the favorites for later. Some will do just the opposite.

Whatever you do be sure and follow up with the favorites right away. Do not delay. Thank you cards, return calls, sending something promised.

Now go out and have a great Halloween.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Be a Shark in a Sea of Applicants

Job Search 2.0: Be a Shark in a Sea of Applicants By Dawn Rasmussen, CMP

In a sea of applicants, if you aren’t a shark, you’re chum. The job search and unemployment can be two of the most discouraging and ego-smashing experiences that a person endures. Rejection is common, and you end up depressed and unsatisfied. If you’ve worked most of your adult life in a full-time position, you’re used to the structure and routine of each day. Being out of work, you find yourself in a drifting miasma of what-do-I-do-today’s. Someone once told me: Looking for a job is a full-time job. Adopt that mentality. To create a sense of direction, develop a specific job search plan. Here are some suggestions on how to chart your course, add structure to your day and create definable goals to give you that sense of order you miss.
1. Appoint a job search buddy. This person will be someone you report to on a weekly basis. It’s going to be a lot more compelling for you to get off the sofa when you know you need to call this person on Friday and report back on your weekly activities. This person will hold you accountable and be your cheerleader at the same time.
2. Read a set number of industry articles every week. When you are unemployed, it is easy to feel that you are getting left behind on industry trends and issues. It makes sense to keep yourself informed and abreast of current events—not just so you can interject a useful bit of information in an interview, but also so you can have something to talk about when networking. It’s amazing when you have a clear command of what’s going on in the world how easy it is to find opportunities to talk about what you’ve read or learned.
3. Attend a set number of networking events every week. Shy? Get over it. The ocean is full of sharks, and you need to be one of them. That means getting out of the house, and getting out to networking events. Take a completely different approach. My friend Cleon Cox, founder of the Portland Job Finders Support Group, has this mantra: Meet people, learn something and have fun. If you go into a networking or business meeting with that attitude, the pressure is off and you are just there to find out about the world. Think of yourself as an explorer…you never know what you might uncover!
4. Keep up your education monthly. You fear you have fallen off the merry-go-round and have lost ground to competitors. Continuing education can be a great path to a new career, enhanced professional credentials or honed skills.
5. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. Volunteering can provide exceptional opportunities to network, learn new skills, become a known quantity within an organization and even find out about industry or company job openings before they are posted. Plus, you’ll feel good while doing it!
6. Hang on to your association memberships. If you have a target industry, chances are that there is a related trade association (or two or three) that you can join. The benefit of these organizations is that they add to your professional credentials. Put your memberships on your resumé and take advantage of industry events to volunteer, attend educational sessions, gain industry certifications or network to meet other people.
7. Conduct a set number of informational interviews every week. Part of the getting-out-of-the-house aspect of this job search plan is to meet people—one-on-one in informational interviews. Many people mistakenly believe and take the approach that informational interviews are all about finding jobs. Wrong! Informational interviews are precisely about finding information. Tap into your network, and see if your friends and colleagues can connect you to people they know.
8. Talk to your friends daily. Who do friends know? People. Employed people. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your entire network. Circle back to people you haven’t spoken to in a while—maybe that close friend who dropped off a few years ago. The key is to tap into your social circle and refresh your connections. You never know what might happen.
9. Follow up on all sent applications. One of the biggest failures of job seekers is that they are constantly looking for the next job opening and they don’t follow up on the positions for which they’ve already applied.
10. Focus your resumé(s) on key themes. You probably have several themes that could develop into different resumés based on your background. During this downtime, explore how you might have different incarnations of your resumé, and take the time to develop these fully. You might be pleasantly surprised at how you can reinvent yourself and create new flexibility in your employment search. This seems like a whole lot of homework, but the goal is to provide structure, stability and goals in a time where there is a lot of chaos, unclear objectives and confusion. By structuring yourself and your time while unemployed, you will achieve the sense of purpose you need and a boost to being productive.

DAWN RASMUSSEN, CMP, is the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Careers, which specializes in hospitality/meeting professional resumés. She has been a meeting planner for more than 15 years and an MPI member since 2001. Tags:dawn rasmussen job advice job searching resumes

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Do you have enough degrees?

Or do you have sufficient letters following your name? Sometimes people feel if they have another set of letters behind their name it will make them more saleable. (MBA,PhD,CFU,CFP,CPA ad nauseam) There is not a thing wrong with advanced education or training. It can be a boon to your success in your opportunity search.

In speaking with numerous employers many still say it is the person that counts first. They want to get to know you and see if you fit the team. Many times they offer to teach you the position. The more education you have just makes it easier for you to ramp up faster many times.

If you are thinking of getting another degree to make your search easier be sure you also talk with potential employers to be sure your degree will make you more appealing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Candy time

Have you bought candy for next week? Better get busy. You can't always wait for the exact cheapest price discount or you may find them out of candy then you may get your windows soaped.

The same principal applies to your contacts to visit and talk with. You need to be working ahead and lining up informational meetings with others. Remember that some of those are just like you and in the search. You may actually have some help for them too. Nothing feels better than helping others.

You might even want to carry some treats with you in the next week and hand them out as you make your rounds.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Who Let the Dog's Out?"

NO! I'm not going to sing. (wooof...wooof) Have you checked the gate lately? Did the dogs get out? In this case those dogs might be your referrals, leads or contacts.

What? Yes, you've been working hard to develop your leads, contacts and referrals then all of a sudden they don't seem to be around. They are usually around. Your job is to keep in touch. You can do this via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter and many others for sure. It doesn't require letters or phone calls anymore. All you need to do is touch them once in a while.

Always send clippings regarding your conversations to them along with a contact card. You are a resource to them. See what you can do to help them.

Keep up the front folks.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Looking for a job? Study Shakespeare

By-Zac Bissonnette

Soaring unemployment has plenty of people wondering how to improve their odds in today's ultra-competitive job market -- and do something constructive with all of their extra free time.Laid-off workers who think that taking the latest computer training course or getting a fancy new certification in marketing will help win over prospective employers are in for a surprise, however. While such courses can indeed prove valuable, the truth is employers would much rather hire someone who excels at reading, writing and speaking effectively. The National Association of Colleges and Employers' Job Outlook 2009 report found that among the traits that employers want the most in a job candidate, communication skills top the list (other prized attributes include a strong work ethic, ability to work in a team, and initiative).

Rest of the story-

Monday, October 12, 2009

Three essential questions when meeting someone

Rob Saxton, Superintendent of public schools in the Tigard/Tualatin school district, shared the following precepts when meeting a potential employee:

1. Do I trust you?
2. Will you respect me as much as I will respect you?
3. Are you committed to excellence?

If there is a no answer here it isn't going to work.

Rob spoke recently (12/6/08) at our Leadership Forum in Beaverton, Or. and delivered some really great information from a public employees stand on leadership. Some of his education formed from his parents, some teachers and a football coach in college.

Friday, October 9, 2009

People Trails

The age of the computer has made it so easy to sit in front of the computer and make up as many resumes as we want. Search the web for opportunities. Send off resumes to the found possibilities. Write friends and brag about how many we sent out. Search LinkedIn for more potential contacts. We can track all this in spread sheets, made up forms, store bought programs. Much of this is called a paper trail. If you are an accountant or taken a few accounting classes you know the value of this.

Now for reality. In my travels I find that most folks like people, to talk with them, meet with them. See the whites of their eyes so to speak. This would be called leaving a People Trail.

When out searching for that next opportunity it is better to leave a People Trail than a paper trail.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The 10 Commandments for Finding Work

The 10 Commandments for Finding Work when the Economy Sucks
#1 Admit you need help
#2 Allow for miracles
#3 Become a learning machine
#4 Think marketing not employment
#5 Don't do what others are doing
#6 Get super connected
#7 Give to get
#8 Kiss your limited mindset goodbye
#9 Don't buy your fear
#10 Act - be unstoppable

Douglass Dixon

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Get out of the way

Sometimes we need to get out of our own way. We can be our own biggest stumbling block. Sticking with our own ideas and listening to no one else. Just lose a little of that pride and at least listen to others and their ideas. Some won't work, parts of others may work yet best off all you get to have fun listening.

Listening is an art and we can never listen enough. There is more information and ideas out there than you will ever be able to take in. Try to take some of it in.