Weekly Top 3 Job Search Tips

January 31, 2010

Here are the top 3 posts I’ve selected for this week. Please feel free to comment or add your own posts.
First up is from the WSJ’s Laid Off and Looking blog by John Brownrigg on Mishaps During the Hiring Process. These are the things that could go wrong that did. You probably have a few stories of your own you could share here. Here’s an excerpt:

Recently, I have dealt with a few failing job prospects, where yet another “perfect fit” didn’t work out. I met a company’s internal recruiter at an airport, where he was going to rent a car and drive me to the office for my interview. When the rental car personnel ran his company credit card through the machine, it was rejected. Assuming a malfunction, she called the numbers in, but the card was still rejected. I’m not sure why I didn’t turn and run, but I stepped in and used my credit card to rent the car. The hiring manager seemed perplexed at my story, and the interview did not go well. The recruiter disappeared by the next day, the hiring manager reluctantly took a couple of calls but then also disappeared, my expenses were never paid, and I didn’t get the job.

Next is Meg Giuseppi’s post Never on Sunday, a reminder that we need to take a break now and then from the internet (yes, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, the job sites, all of it.) Here’s an excerpt:

When I recently visited my elderly, ultra tech-challenged father (he still has trouble with his answering machine – forget about him ever getting a computer), I brought along my netbook to see if I’d be able to pick up a signal at his house.

He marveled at how small my laptop was. “Is that a full computer?” he asked. I told him it was. We talked a bit about how far we’ve come with the Internet and technology.

He shook his head and asked, “Is the Internet open 24 hours a day”? Of course, I answered “yes”.

I think he was politely nudging me to put the thing aside while we were visiting. But did that little question of his ever hit home with me.

Finally, here’s a great blog for those over 40. It’s titled appropriately enough, Interns Over 40 and has some very useful tips. I’m including their weekly list of the top rated sites by their readers in this post.

01/22/10 Readers weekly choice of the Most Read Career Transition Articles. (or how to quickly find out the best of Internsover40).Grab a cup of coffee. Put on your favorite Weekend Tunes. We are giving you a chance to catch up on your weekly reading and viewing with a list of the most popular Stories on Interns over 40. These are the the top 4 stories that your peers have read this past week. Hope you find them valuable. We look forward to reading your comments.
1. Mistakes Older Job Seekers Make:http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2009/11/7-mistakes-job-seekers-over-50-make.html
2. Where are the Jobs in the Next Decade:http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2010/01/where-are-jobs-in-next-decade.html
3. Interview Questions and Answers For Older Worker: http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2009/10/8-interview-questions-answers-for-older_31.html
4. 10 Ways to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out:http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2009/12/10-ways-to-make-your-cover-letter-stand_10.html
New Career Transition Tools:
Job Seekers: Post your Resume and Search for new careers or new industry:
http://ow.ly/ZwE7

Let me know which one of these you like best.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1

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Tired of Working for Someone Else? Here’s an East SF Bay Course for Entrepreneurs

January 29, 2010

Not everyone is ready to jump back on the hamster wheel of another corporate job, subject to the whims of the economy, a bad boss or unfulfilling work. There are many resources available in the East Bay for the job seeker, but what if you’ve reached the point that you no longer want to work for someone else and are ready to make the leap to working for yourself?

Steve Goveia, a CPA at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co. has put together an 8 week course covering the major aspects of starting your own business. Together with Greg Vervais of Vervais & Associates, they have delivered the course over the past year resulting in the creation of 45 new businesses.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small business — firms with fewer than 500 employees — drives the U.S. economy by providing jobs for over half of the nation’s private workforce. Small businesses are also the top job creators right now, as the large corporations are still mainly on the sidelines with regards to hiring. So 45 new companies in the East Bay have the potential to add more employees and help fuel more economic recovery.

The course covers the main elements of starting a business – from having the passion for an idea all the way through funding and getting started.

For more information on the class, contact Steve at sgoveia@groco.com.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


10 Tips for Job Hunting in a Tight Market

January 25, 2010

The following article is from by Kate Wendleton, President of The Five O’Clock Club.

The job market is shaky. Answering ads, and talking to search firms won’t set you apart from the competition. Remember, according to the JOLTS report, employers hired almost 4.2 million people in November, an increase of about 130,000 from the previous month. But the number of people who quit their jobs, were fired or were laid off rose to 4.3 million that month. This churn is in your favor. When people move around, as they are now, there’s room for you. A few simple guidelines can shorten your search time
by months, even in this market.

1. Expand your job-hunting targets. If you are searching only in Los Angeles or only in Detroit, for example, think of other geographic areas. If you are looking only in large public corporations, consider small or private companies or not-for-profits.

2. If you are looking for a certain kind of position, investigate what other kinds of work you also could do.

3. It takes an average of eight follow-up phone calls to get a meeting. After you have written or emailed someone asking for a meeting, do not leave messages for a person to call you back. Instead, keep on calling. If you’re still unsuccessful in reaching them, try calling the company operator and ask to speak to the person’s assistant or someone who sits near them. See people two levels higher than you are.

4. When you are in the initial stages of exploring a target area, contact people at your level to find out about that area and see how well your skills match up. But then you must contact people who are at a higher level than you are. They are the ones who
are in a position to hire you or recommend that you be hired.

5. A job hunter must have 6 to 10 job possibilities in the works concurrently. Five O’Clock Club research shows that five of those will fall away through no fault of your own. For example, a company could decide to hire no one, hire a marketing person instead of an accounting person, or hire their not-so-bright brother-in-law instead of you. It’s not your fault.

6. Job hunters who get small-group career coaching throughout their searches get more satisfying jobs faster and at higher rates of pay than those who search on their own, and also more quickly than those who work privately with a career coach throughout their searches. Job hunters learn from each other’s strategies, help each other and help motivate their comrades. The average résumé is reviewed for only 10 seconds.

7. Résumés should have a summary containing the most important accomplishments the job hunter wants the reader to know. “Thank you” notes after a job interview are ineffective. Instead a job hunter must influence the hiring manager, addressing the key issues discussed in the meeting.

8. Unemployed job hunters are not at a disadvantage. More than 78% of the unemployed job hunters who attended targeted group coaching got jobs that paid the same or more than their last jobs.

9. Think about developing new skills. If you suspect your old skills are out-of-date, develop new ones. If you can’t get a job because you don’t have the experience, get the experience. Join an association related to your new skill area.

10. Keep your spirits up. An alarming number of job hunters in the U.S. are
discouraged and dropping out of the job market. Don’t you be one of them.
Be aware that what you are going through is not easy, and that many of the
things you are experiencing are being experienced by just about everybody
else. Hang in there, get a fresh start, follow a proven methodology (www.FiveOClockClub.com), and eventually you will get something.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
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How to Use Your College Alumni to Help Land a Job

January 24, 2010

Most colleges use social networks to stay informed and connect with each other – either via Facebook or LinkedIn or inCircle. In the San Francisco Bay Area, two local colleges use all of the above to connect with their alumni. St. Mary’s College and Santa Clara University use inCircle in addition to Facebook and LinkedIn. inCircle connects school alumni for networking, reconnecting and posting or browsing jobs.

Here’s what some savvy alums are doing to increase their chances that their resume will be seen by the hiring manager:

1. Find a job you are interested in that’s posted on a job board, LinkedIn, Craigslist or other local sites (see previous article on Where to find jobs in the SF Bay Area)

2. If your school uses inCircle or has a LinkedIn alumni group, search for alumni who work for the company.

3. Connect with the people who work there by inviting them to connect with you (both LinkedIn and iNCircle)

4. Once connected, let them know via email that you are interested in a position at their company and ask to meet for coffee to learn more about what it’s like to work there.

5. When you meet, and if they are agreeable, close by asking them if they would walk your cover letter and resume into the hiring manager’s office and let the hiring manager know that they are fellow alums and that the hiring manager should meet with you.

Most companies prefer to hire candidates recommended by their employees – in fact, many have incentive programs for employees who refer candidates. This is especially popular now as there are so many resumes coming in for posted jobs, having any kind of a warm referral is welcomed.

Give it a try – most alumni are more than willing to help another alum out – wouldn’t you?
By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


Top 3 Weekly Job Search Tips

January 21, 2010

First up is How to Build a Powerful Executive Network by Meg Giuseppi. This really is an excellent post. Her blog is focused on the senior level job searcher, but the advice applies to anyone. Here’s an excerpt:
You probably hear it all the time if you’re job-hunting. Networking is the best way to identify and position yourself for new job opportunities.

Reconnecting with your existing network and connecting with new people can help you tap into the “hidden job market” of unadvertised positions and new opportunities created around your unique promise of value.

It’s okay to circle back to your neglected network and re-build. You also need to cast a far-reaching net to connect with people at your target companies. Read the rest here.

Next is a short video featuring Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com on Boomers using social media. This video has some interesting facts: For example, 12,000 people are turning 50 years old every day and 8,000 are turning 60 every day. That’s a bit staggering, isn’t it? And most of those people have been using computers in their jobs for years, so they are very proficient online.

The drop off seems to be around 67 – 68 years old where going online is not as comfortable or familiar. One big difference, Jeff notes, is that this demographic knows how to write, and not just in 140 character bytes (OMG!) Pretty interesting.

Lastly is a short post by Jason Alba (again!) with his 5 Second Elevator Pitch.

I think it was Liz Ryan who called this a “bumper sticker” (great concept).
In LinkedIn they call it a Professional Headline.
Some call it a tag line.
It is the bite-sized value proposition… I might get bored listening to your poorly-crafted 30 second elevator pitch, but I can’t help but digest your 5 Second Elevator Pitch.

One of my favorites is from Carol Fletez, who is an IT professional in the D.C. area. Look at how fantastic her 5 second pitch is:

Helping Companies Migrate from Mainframes to the Future!

This might not mean anything to you but I used to work in a mainframe environment. Mainframes are cool and powerful, but many times you feel like you are in the bedrock era. Carol’s very simple phrase… Helping Companies Migrate from Mainframes to the Future! … is just clever! It brought a grin to my face, and immediately I assumed she has an expertise in legacy systems and new stuff, and marrying the two. Anyone who has been around mainframes will know what this means.

Guess what? She also has this sentence on her email signature – she is getting that branding in multiple places (as she should).

What is YOUR 5 Second pitch?

Which one of the three is your favorite?

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


Looking for Your Next Encore Career? Free e-book!

January 16, 2010

Many older job seekers are looking to do something more meaningful than just another job or what they’ve been doing for years in their next career chapter. Some have quit their regular jobs voluntarily, but many have been cast adrift against their wishes due to the severe recession.

For these people, the hardest question to answer is “What am I going to do next?”

According to Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures and author of Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life, “searching for a new job, a purpose-driven job, isn’t easy
at any age. It’s certainly not easy at, or beyond, midlife. What exactly do you want to do now? Can you afford to work for less? Is it worth going back to school? Will employers be receptive to what you have to offer?”

Encore.org has published a free e-book that tackles this dilemma. “The largest generation in American history is in transition, moving beyond midlife to a new stage of life and work. Tens of millions of people between the ages of 44 and 70 say they want encore careers that combine personal meaning, continued income, and social impact,” says Friedman.

The book provides answers to the following questions in a short, visually pleasing format with case studies for each:

* Now that I’m ready to get started, what should I expect?
* What do I need to know about job hunting these days?
* How do I prepare for the possibility of earning less money?
* How can I update my job skills?
* How do I finance the transition to an encore career?
* How can I turn volunteering into a job?
* How do I transition from a corporate job to a nonprofit one?
* What does it take to break into health care?
* How do I become a teacher?
* What is a green job, and how do I get one?
* What are the encore career opportunities in government?
* What are the options for striking out on my own?

Click here for your copy of the e-book.This e-book was published with the support of the MetLife Foundation.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


Keith Ferrazzi’s Advice for the 50 plus Job Seeker: Develop Your Lifelines

January 14, 2010

With all the current buzz about networking to find jobs instead of the traditional methods, it seemed appropriate to talk with an expert on networking to get a bit more insight on the subject.

I was inspired by a recent post from his blog last week, so Tuesday I spoke with Keith Ferrazzi, NY Times bestselling author of “Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time” and “Who’s Got Your Back – The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success–and Won’t Let You Fail”.

Keith is a world renowned keynote speaker and expert in networking and relationship development. In this interview, Keith spoke of the importance for older job seekers (or any job seekers, for that matter) to find their small group of “lifelines” – those special people who are committed to your success and who have “got your back”.

What prompted you to write the book Never Eat Alone?

I was frustrated by the way people were defining networking – some of the basic, core truths were deeply misunderstood – especially by people who were calling themselves networkers. Networking is really about developing deep, meaningful relationships and based on generosity first, not how many contacts you have in your Outlook. So that’s why I wrote Never Eat Alone 7 years ago – and it keeps selling…

What advice would you give to the 50+ job seeker?

As you consider the next lily pad you’re hopping to, more than ever you need to know who your lifelines are. In my book, ‘Who’s Got Your Back’, I note that 50% of the people who were asked ‘Who’s got your back’ couldn’t answer the question. 60% of those who couldn’t answer the question were married! They didn’t even consider that their significant others could be their lifelines – and that’s a problem.

To be successful, you can’t do it alone. You need 2-3 people for your lifelines – to spar with, to hold your hand, to prop you up, to be there for you, to support you, to network with.

And how do you find these lifelines?

The long, slow dinner is one way. Interview the few friends that you think might be there for you – that they’re compatible, have the right personality for you, and vice versa – use this opportunity to test them out – it’s like creating your ‘kitchen cabinet’, your unofficial advisers. Napoleon Hill, author of the classic 1937 book “Think and Grow Rich”, used the term “Master Minds” as that group of people who are your personal advisers and are committed to your success. I like to think the message in my books is the modern day equivalent to Napoleon Hill’s timeless wisdom that we cannot do it alone.

What advice do you have for the 20 something job seeker?

It’s the same! I just gave a talk to a Stanford MBA group and the message was the same you need to establish your lifelines.

What are you most passionate about?

I’ll answer that with this story: I recently spoke at an event and the organizer was worried that the group of very technical people would find the message too soft & fuzzy. Instead, they came away saying that my message about meaningful relationships was deeply impactful. That’s what I’m passionate about – that my message is not just helping people be better professionals, but to be better moms and dad’s and sisters and friends – that they can be better people.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1