Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blogs and blogging

Those that know me know that I suggest everyone should have their own blog and secondly need to blog. Those that don't know me personally can take the previous sentence and apply it please.

So who reads these things? An interesting question. A year ago I was contacted by the editor of Marie Claire magazine. She mentioned that she had been reading my blog and wanted to talk. We talked.

You say "SO". I had never heard of Marie Claire magazine before. Why would they be reading my blog? This pointed out to me that people do use the Internet for research, and they are constantly searching today. I would have never guessed that they were looking at me. It also allowed them to inform me of another periodically.

Today as I opened up my blog I found a note to me suggesting I write new articles and not recycle older ones. They suggested it in a positive manner and I took it to heart.

We never know who will find us or if it will be of value. Part of that depends on how you define value.

So why blog: It forces us to write and improve our writing skills, always a good thing. It exposes us to be found by some we'd never expect.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Your networking calendar

Did you plan and fill your networking calendar for January? If not you have another chance for February now. You will find out from the successful hunters that they include several networking events each week. There are numerous resources to find them. Just ask, fill in your calendar and get busy.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Where are all the opportunities ?

A common question with variable answers. It is a question that has been asked for decades. One needs to remember that it isn't like going to the mall to find that opportunity.
You job is to research and come up with position that you would love to do. As long as it makes money for the company it is viable.

That is another reason to network with your colleagues, you can bounce the ideas off them. They may have ideas or contacts for you, the process is never ending actually. Sometimes just change your position and think about making your own position.

It's a new year, go for it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's 2010

Wow! Seems just like yesterday we were lamenting over "Y2K". Now it is 10 years later and we have had at least two major downturns in the job market. Actually three. If we go back in history we find many downturns and each was followed by a recovery. Did it happen automatically? Of course not.
Someone got busy and improved an idea. Someone invested their hard earned money into a new venture. One crisis spawns another new idea. And so it goes. A major difference is the time frame it happens. Some longer than others.
As you go about your hunt why not be on the lookout for ways companies can improve, expand and/or make more profits. You never know what you could spark.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Being on time and showing up

Have you ever had someone not show up for a scheduled appointment? Worse yet have you ever failed to show up? Being late is bad enough but not showing is the worst. Over the years I have found to hold my judgement because once in a while there was a legitimate reason.

If we do our work right we should be able to contact our appointment if it appears we may be late because of cell phones. It is just common courtesy to apprise them of our lateness so they know whether or not you plan to show up.

Just let people know!

There is a young man that scheduled three appts. with me and either cancelled at the last minute or no showed. A few months later we crossed paths in a networking event. He approached me and began talking. He wound up totally apologizing and said he has heard from others that he wasn't too reliable. From there he went on to ask if we could try again to meet. I agreed and he would let me know via e-mail.

He made contact, we tossed dates and times back and forth and arrived at an agreeable time and day. On the assigned day I showed up ahead of time and proceeded to wait. After 30 minutes he is a no show. I'll hold my judgement as there was no e-mail or phone call to me.

My gut feel is he just isn't ready to really get busy.

Bottom line, communicate and don't miss appointments.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Social Media

Are you utilizing it yet? Is it overwhelming, daunting or of no value to you? Who wants to know what you had for lunch or worse yet them telling you what they bought at the store.
There are numerous stories of wasteful energy and time about this phenomena. Yet the facts are that it is around to stay. If that doesn't put a knot in your shorts then consider that as you are reading this they are working on new and better ways to use it.

The point here is to get yourself familiar with this new craze, learn how it works and become participative so you will survive the latest and newest way of doing business.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Opportunities or Obstacles ?

In my travels, networking and meetings some people will tell me about the obstacles for them in achieving their goals. When we start with a negative outlook it pretty much stays there. Attitude is incumbent on you being successful. When you can set your mind to look at the positive, think in the positive all of a sudden you feel better and even become successful faster.

Sound too simple? Remember that this isn't just an instant gratification exercise. Sometimes it can be faster than others. When you find yourself depressed, down and/or in the funk find someone who has a positive attitude. Share with them your feelings.

Like Mom used to say, people in other parts of the world are far worse off than you are.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Business Cards

No matter what you call them (business cards, calling cards, contact cards) you need to have a pocket full of them. As the old commercial used to say "Never leave home without it". In this case never leave home without them.

The basics needed on the cards is your name, phone number and e-mail address. You are free to put other info on there. Be careful not to clutter though. As for titles, be careful because when you give your cards out others will opt to leave what you indicated even if you talked about other skills you have. You do have many other skills.

My suggestion is to order at least 500 for your first order as the first 250 disappear fast. If you opt for the online services that are available. You will use these cards everywhere you go. So ordering 1,000 is not uncommon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Secret to Finding a Job When "There Are No Jobs"

The Secret to Finding a Job When "There Are No Jobs"
Advice from Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute?
Richard Nelson Bolles
Special from Bottom Line/PersonalSeptember 1, 2009
F inding a job is tough enough in this economy, but many job hunters reduce the odds of their success by using common job-search strategies that often fail. Here’s what doesn’t work so well -- and what does...
Five popular job-search strategies that do not work for the majority of those who try them...
Mailing out résumés/submitting or posting résumés online.
Odds of success: 7%*
Problem: Employers receive huge numbers of unsolicited résumés. Virtually all of these are filed away without a second look.
Might work if: Your résumé is handed to an employer by someone the employer knows and trusts -- particularly if this individual adds a personal recommendation.
Responding to ads in professional or trade journals.
Odds of success: 7%.
Problem: Employers tend to place ads in these journals only for low-wage jobs and other positions that they have had trouble filling. Also, because most trade journals are national, jobs listed there often require relocation.
Might work if: You have a specific skill set that is difficult for employers to find and you are willing to relocate.
Responding to ads on Internet jobs sites.
Odds of success: 10%.
Problem: Employers tend to post jobs on Internet job sites only as a last resort, because such ads tend to bring a flood of responses from mostly inappropriate or low-quality applicants. A significant percentage of jobs posted on employment Web sites are outright scams, and competition tends to be very fierce for the legitimate openings.
Might work if: Your field is information technology (IT). Attractive IT jobs often are advertised online because employers know that tech-savvy employees tend to use the Internet for everything.
Responding to ads in the local newspapers.
Odds of success: Between 5% and 24%, depending on your salary requirements.
Problem: Most employers consider newspaper classifieds an out-of-date way to find applicants. Few bother to list attractive jobs there anymore.
Might work if: You’re willing to work for close to minimum wage. Many low-paying jobs still are listed in local newspapers.
Working with a private employment agency or search firm.
Odds of success: Between 5% and 28%, depending on your salary requirements.
Problem: With the economy struggling, employers don’t see the need to pay search firms to find qualified applicants -- there are more than enough coming to them. Also, there is little evidence that agencies do a particularly good job of finding work for clients.
Might work if: You are looking for a low-wage office position, such as a secretarial or clerical job.
Five job-hunting strategies that offer excellent odds of success, ordered from least to most successful...
Networking for leads.
Odds of success: 33%.
Advantage: Employers love to hire based on personal recommendations from employees and trusted contacts -- it vastly improves the odds that the applicant will be talented and suitable.
Limitation: The success of your networking depends on the size and quality of your network. Don’t give up if at first no one you know has heard of a job. Continue to expand your network when you are unemployed by asking your contacts to put you in touch with their contacts... and remaining active in your community.
Knocking on doors unannounced at employers of interest. Express an interest in the company or sector, and ask for five minutes of the boss’s time.
Odds of success: 47%.
Advantage: It’s more common than you might think to find an employer who is about to list an opening, and he/she might hire you without even interviewing other candidates. Small-business owners tend to be go-getters who respect the moxie of those who knock on doors and ask if there is a need for their skills and experience.
Limitation: You must anticipate that you likely will be rejected to your face. Also, this knock-on-doors strategy doesn’t work well at large companies, where it is hard to get a meeting with an executive without an appointment. Stick to smaller companies with 50 or fewer employees. Midafternoon is the best time to do this. Dress in attire appropriate to that business.
Calling companies of interest that are listed in the local Yellow Pages (or white pages business section). As with the strategy above, ask for the owner, very briefly explain your background or relevant skills, then ask if he/she knows anyone in the industry in need of someone like you... or if you could come in and talk with him about the industry. To present yourself in the best light, review your skills before each call and remind yourself that you would be a productive, useful employee.
Odds of success: 69%.
Advantage: This is a great way to get to know businesses in your region. You could be hired for a job that has not yet been advertised.
Limitation: This is ineffective with large companies that have computerized phone systems and operators who make it difficult to reach those in charge.
Partnering with other job hunters. Put together a group of job hunters who agree to keep an eye out for opportunities suitable for others in the group. Meet at least weekly. To build your group, team up with job hunters you know or go to job fairs to meet attendees.
Odds of success: 70%.
Advantage: More eyes looking for opportunities means more opportunities coming your way. And working with a group makes it harder to slack off on the job search.
Limitation: This works best when members are looking for employment in fields that call for different skills and career goals, so they are not in competition for the same jobs.
Taking inventory of yourself, then targeting the employers where you ought to be working. Spend at least a weekend considering which of all of your skills you most enjoy using... in which fields you would most enjoy putting those skills to work... which organizations have these jobs to offer... which people at those organizations have the power to hire you... and how best to approach them.
Odds of success: 86%.
Advantage: Job hunters who use this systematic process tend to appear more confident to employers, which makes them more appealing hires. They also are better able to explain why they would be an asset to the organization.
Limitation: It takes time to do this properly. The secret is to define your skills and the type of work you wish to do in as much detail as possible. In poor economies, many job hunters assume that they must cast a broad net and look for any available job. These people come off as desperate. The most successful job interviewees write a detailed inventory of what they have to offer an employer and analyze times when they were successful before they actually go to an interview.
*The "odds of success" percentages cited in this article are based on industry studies and other sources. They reflect the percentage of job hunters who eventually found work by pursuing the strategy.
Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Richard Nelson Bolles, a leader in the career development field for more than 30 years. He is author of What Color Is Your Parachute?, the best-selling job-hunting book of all time (revised annually). His latest book is The Job-Hunter’s Survival Guide: How to Find Hope and Rewarding Work, Even When "There Are No Jobs" (both published by Ten Speed). He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.