Know What You Want to Find Your Next Job – Tina Chang Did!

February 1, 2010

With the unemployment and underemployment rate over 17%, competition for the few jobs out there is brutal. But there are success stories. Here’s how Tina Chang landed her position as New Product Program Manager at Cisco.

Tina’s career began right out of college with an Industrial Engineering degree, working for HP as a Process Engineer. After a few years, she had the opportunity to use her degree with a group of other industrial engineers and worked for IBM for 6 years. She went back to HP for a few years working in PC Manufacturing as a Platform Manager.

Tina’s career continued to advance as she joined Quantum as a Production Planning Manager for their disk drives and was there for 8 years. A merger with Maxtor led to a layoff while on assignment overseas in Geneva. Tina had been considering a move into non-profits and the layoff gave her that chance at her church as Director of Family Assimilation.

She loved the work but after a year she realized that she longed for the management structure of a larger company. “I missed the analytical side of business in that role and when they assigned me to manage the budgets, I was thrilled to be using a spreadsheet again,” said Tina.

Here’s where Tina’s tenacity paid off. As the church was downsizing, Tina began telling her friends that not only was she looking for a new job, but what type of job, industry and company. From her actions, a friend emailed an executive at a medical equipment company on her behalf. This executive was also a member of the church and Tina knew his family.

Once the email was sent, Tina knew it was time to act. She contacted the executive, he introduced her to the VP of Manufacturing and she was hired. Tina was there for 5 years as Director, Manufacturing Program Management. In October, the company restructured and Tina was laid off.

After a few weeks of visiting friends and taking some time for herself, Tina got to work on planning her search. She says, “I didn’t even have a PC of my own in the beginning – I borrowed a friend’s and started spending time at the library so I could use their Wifi.”

She started working on her plan: With some help from the outplacement firm the medical equipment company provided, she got her resume set and learned how to best use the internet for her search. She reflected on what she loved doing and the type of company that could match her skills and experience. After going through the Best Companies to Work For lists, she identified her target companies.

“I wanted a large company with some infrastructure, one that was international – I love to travel! – , no start-ups, and a great manager to work for,” she added.

Then she started her spreadsheet. She tracked her target companies, who she knew who worked there, when she contacted them, who she sent resumes & letters to, who she met at Starbuck’s, etc.

“I would tell all my friends what I was looking for! Prayer helped give me the determination to keep going. Someone asked me if I got bored during my time off and I said are you kidding? I’m working 40 hours a week meeting people, spending time having tea and talking to others and following up on referrals from old colleagues and new friends I met.”

She said that LinkedIn was the most helpful website because she could look up all kinds of information once she focused on a company, especially contacts she could meet with to learn more about the opportunities and culture.

During her intense search, a friend from IBM and Quantum sent her job leads. Her friend gave Tina’s resume to the hiring manager just before Christmas. He met with her first, contacted her before the New Year and asked her to come in on the 4th for additional interviews. He made her a verbal offer the next day and she is now working at Cisco.

Total time in her search was a little over 3 months, very good in this market for that type of position.

When asked what single thing most helped her land her job, she said, ” I focused on what I wanted and told everyone I came into contact that. I believe that praying for what I wanted helped make it happen.”

What are you doing in your search to find your job? Please share your success stories here.

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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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


Find Your Next Job Through a Different Kind of Networking

November 28, 2009

How many times have you heard that “networking” is the only way to find a job in this economy. Or that 70% of the people who are getting hired found the opportunity by “networking?” So how does this work?

Many people think of networking like a bad Seinfeld episode – obnoxious people cornering some poor guy, like George, at a party and going on and on about their great job, their sky rocketing career, their wonderful life, and, “Oh, yeah – what did you say you do?”

Maybe if people had a few simple tools in those situations, it could actually be fun. Like a simple 3 part script: (1) Hi, I’m George Costanza and (2) I enjoy helping companies see their projects completed on time and under budget, and (3) have a good time doing it!”

Or for those that are uncomfortable in social settings like this, networking also includes one on one meetings over coffee, using social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook to find someone who may know someone at your target company.

In fact, this is a very effective way to get in front of a hiring manager: Identify the company you want to work for, identify the types of positions you would like to have, then if there is a position (or similar type job) posted on their website, now the fun begins.

Use the Companies feature in LinkedIn and you’ll see people in your network who may work there or have worked there. More likely there will be people who are 2nd or 3rd degree connections. By clicking on them, you’ll see who in your network is connected to them.

Then, call or email them and ask for an introduction to the person you want to meet. You’ll be surprised at how helpful people in your network are – even if you are not close to them.

Now, they have introduced you to someone who can possibly help you – offer to buy them coffee at Starbucks or at a place of their choosing and get to know them with a series of simple, but powerful questions (more on that at a later time.)

What’s the worst that can happen by doing this? You may not get any introductions – you’re no worse off than you are now, but at least you’ve taken some action. Or, you may have gotten the introduction, but no response from the target person. Again, no worse off, but at a later date, the target person may remember your reaching out.

And how hard is any of this? Do you think you can try this kind of networking? It may just land you your next dream job.

For a very concrete example of how this type of networking works, read this post from WSJ’s Laid Off and Looking blog.

JP Headshot1JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. He is also a career and financial coach, has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations, most recently helping those in transition. His philosophy is to help others be more successful and to enjoy the benefits of meeting new people.

JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

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