Job Seeking in the 21st Century Workshop – Save the Date!

January 9, 2010

The line between finding your next career and personal branding has been blurring to the point they are indistinguishable. Lynn Heikke has put together a series of powerful workshops targeting people in transition to learn the necessary tools to stand out in this crowded job market. She has engaged some of the Bay Area’s best for these courses starting on January 19th: Patrick Schwerdtfeger, author of Webify Your Business – Internet Marketing Secrets for the Self-Employed, on LinkedIn and Personal Branding, Cheryl Liquori, author of the Breakfast Blogging Club on Blogging and Lynn Heikke on Twitter.

Here are some of the expected outcomes:

Learn how to meet hiring managers on their new turfs!
Be in control of your own job search!
Become more marketable – you’re the product an employer cannot live without!
Increase your negotiating power – you have new skills that command a higher salary and/or promotion!
Discover ways to showcase your talents and expertise!
Stand WAY out from other job candidates!

For more information, check out Lynn’s site here.

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

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, 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
JP Headshot1–free-ebook

December 31, 2009

There are scores of articles and blogs with tips on how to land a job, but very few from recruiters of the companies that many are targeting: Fortune 500 companies. That’s because very few recruiters from these companies write about what they are looking for in candidates.

Now, thanks to Dan Schwabel, an author and writer of the very popular Personal Branding Blog, he has offered on his site a free download of a book by 10 recruiters from his company, EMC Corporation.

“This is the first eBook of it’s kind by Fortune 500 recruiters that gives job seekers an inside look at what it takes to get a job at a large company or any company. It comes at a time when people are desperately trying to get jobs, yet lack the necessary “behind the scenes” information to beat the recruiting process. That has changed as of today!” said Dan.

Here’s a sample of 10 tips from the book:

1. Don’t be negative: The interview process is slow and frustrating. Don’t let this shake you up.

2. Be prepared. Do more research; study the company and the job. Prepare specific examples that can demonstrate your skills and capabilities

3. Use your personal network; let people know what opportunities you are looking for.

4. Treat recruiters and prospective employers with the same courtesy that you expect from them. You may want to pursue another future opportunity with the same people, so leave a good impression.

5. Build a skills inventory: Candidates need to know themselves and then know how to present themselves.

6. Network, network and then network some more!

7. Dress professionally and act professionally. Remember, everything counts!

8. Ask questions. You need to interview the company just as much as they need to interview you!

9. Ensure you are part of your school’s alumni network.

10. Send a thank-you note outlining why you feel you are qualified and ask for the job!

To get the free e-book, you do not need to register or give any information to get it. Says Dan, “I have a very special holiday gift for all of you job seekers out there or friends/family of job seekers. Most of you are probably taking time to rest during Christmas/Chanukah and New Years, but I think the best use of your time is to search for jobs when everyone else isn’t. It’s very similar to launching a major PR campaign during a weekend, when other companies aren’t. It is a proven way to stand out!”

Click here to download the free e-book.

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

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, 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
JP Headshot1

Weekly Roundup of Top 3 Search Tips

December 6, 2009

It’s time for the top 3 job search tips this week I’ve found from the scores of blogs and articles I read and pass along. Also, I will be looking for your votes on which is your favorite. Feel free to forward this link to your friends in transition.

1. This from Jason Alba, who is the founder of the job search tool JibberJobber.
I don’t care what the news might say about how things are getting better. And I don’t care if we’re on the upswing from this recession.

The bottom line is, this is really, really hard. We all know business owners who have gone out of business. We all know people who have lost their jobs. We all know people who have been in a job search for over a year. If there is a light at the end of the tunnel it sure seems really dim, or like a pinhole.

In a Yahoo Group I’m on someone said that this is the worst she’s seen since the Great Depression… I agree with that… but there are a few differences. Here was my response to her email. I hope this can give you hope – I didn’t plan on sharing on this blog when I wrote it, but it’s been on my mind all night/morning:

Individual greatness has and will come from this, however. For me, one of the greatest things I think I can see from this is that people start to consider their careers differently – it is no longer the company’s to manage, it is MINE. What can I do to have some kind of income security?

As people go through this paradigm shift we’ll see the evolution of the career – it has to happen – we’ve been forced into it (by virtue of lack of loyalty between employers and employees) – now the economy is forcing us to really, really address it.

Anyone want to trust their career to HR? Maybe a few years ago, but many people now are “getting it.” It’s a hard lesson, for sure, but I think we’ll see a more empowered workforce come out of this.

Chris Brogan recently wrote in his newsletter that there might not be a lot of jobs out there, but there is a TON of money – can we, as personal career managers, start to think about how to create income security (as opposed to job security) by earning some of that money?

If so, then we’ll see a terrific product when all the dust settles.

It might be a crappy economy, but that doesn’t mean we have to let that dictate what happens to US! Retool and conquer!

2. Next up is from Dan Schwabel’s Personal Branding blog. It is an interview with Alan Collins, author and former HR VP at Pepsi. Here’s an excerpt:

What tools do you recommend for a job seeker?

The number one tool I recommend for any job seeker is their personal network. Most recruiters will tell you that networking will deliver more job interviews to you than any other method. More than answering ads. More than hitting the online job boards. And more than putting your resume down Monster’s black hole and hoping that you’ll get some hits. The tough thing about networking is depending on your personality, it’s either a lot of fun or a lot of work.

For me, I’m not a natural networker, so it’s work for me. So, if you’re like me, you have to discipline yourself to do it. But if you’re in the job market, you must do it. Good networking takes effort, sincerity and time. Start taking people to lunch. Start attending cocktails, dinners, and networking events. Set goals for yourself. For example: “I want to have a good conversation and exchange business cards with at least 3 people during this event.” There’s an old saying that you should dig the well before you’re thirsty. Well, this applies to networking. LinkedIn is also a great tool for helping you do this too.
For more of the interview, click here.

3. Last but not least is an upbeat article from Career Coach and columnist Megan Pittsley10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Job Seekers.

Which is your favorite this week?

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, 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 and his articles on
JP Headshot1

A Personal Branding Tale – Part 3

November 16, 2009

This is the third of Chad Levitt’s posts that tell the story of the job seeker who’s hired mainly because of his blogging and views on his industry (and now company). In the last post, he was promoted. Now we see what this star employee is doing a year later…

A Personal Branding Tale Part 3
from Personal Branding Blog – Dan Schawbel by Chad Levitt

You have been in your new role after being promoted for close to one year – you have done an excellent job and executed on all tasks. As a result of your leadership your team has exceeded expectations.

You have even managed to keep up with your blogging – you are well known around the company because many of your colleagues read your blog.

While there have been the occasional naysayers you have dealt with it by ignoring the negativity and focusing on the positive. It has worked so far.

Through your blogging activities and social networking you have created a reputation as a thought leader in your field. You are respected both within and outside the walls of your company.

You have written a few articles for trade magazines and have even been interviewed by other bloggers that thought your ideas would be valuable content for their readers.

You have more job security than most people because of your performance at the company – but mostly because you have developed and nurtured a powerful social network safety net. If something were to happen and you lost your job – you have a strong network to help you.

Other mid to high-level managers have reached out to you from different departments of your company and asked for your advice. You have more relationships than most of your colleagues at your company.

Through your relationships at the company and solid performance you maintain a high level of influence at the company. Your colleagues listen to you.

Then early one morning you are sitting in your office and your phone rings – you are surprised that the person on he other end works for your biggest competitor. They have heard about you through your personal brand and would like to meet with you.

After a few meetings (on your time) this competitor of yours makes a very compelling offer – you have a very big decision to make.

You decide to meet with your boss and talk things over to see if they are willing to match or exceed the offer being made to you by your competitor.

After a few meetings your company decides to meet the offer being made by your competitor – you gladly accept.

Your personal brand just helped you receive a raise and a few more benefits at your company.

Personal brands have value – how much is yours worth?

Chad Levitt is the author of the New Sales Economy blog, which focuses on how Sales 2.0 & Social Media can help you connect, create more opportunities and increase your business. Chad is also the featured Sales 2.0 blogger at, the number one web portal for sales pros, the professional athletes of the business world. Make sure to connect with him on Twitter @chadalevitt.

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Personal Branding Tale – Part 2

November 9, 2009

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Here’s Chad Levitt’s follow up to the Personal Branding Tale a few days ago… this time it’s focused on getting promoted, or continuing to stand out once you have been hired and making yourself indispensable. Many people succeed in getting hired, but then don’t last a year because they didn’t continue the networking within their new company and therefore became expendable when times got tough.

Chad’s stories are powerful reminders that we must always be finding ways to add value whatever it is we do.


You have been working at your new job for six months and you are really enjoying being with this company. The job challenges you and you have responded to every challenge so far.

You have created a reputation for yourself with your co-workers as reliable, consistent and accountable. You have shown the ability to think strategically and have executed on all tasks that have been given to you.

Because of your solid reputation, you were recently asked to work on a new project that will have manager level exposure and help determine the future vision for the company. You will have a very minor role and it will require long hours but you gladly accept the offer to be on the project.

As you work on the new project with the different members of the team you being to add them to your LinkedIn network and soon others at the company are finding you on LinkedIn too.

Then one evening while working on some last minute action items a colleague of yours sits down in your cube and says, “I’m really enjoying your blog – keep up the great work”.

You are blown away because you have not told anybody about your blog. You ask how your colleague came across your blog and she says I clicked the link on your LinkedIn profile. You say thanks for reading and continue with your work.

Over the next few months more of your colleagues begin to comment on your blogging and slowly but surely your ideas are spreading through different circles of influence at the company.

Then one morning you get into the office quite early to hammer out a few pending items that need to be submitted by the close of business today.

You open up Outlook and begin checking your email – one email catches your eye because of who sent it. It is the boss of Mrs. I’m Hiring who originally hired you for the job and she would like to meet with you next week.

You of course accept the invitation.

You show up for your meeting with Mr. I’m Promoting dressed for success and more then a little curious. Mr. I’m Promoting invites you to sit down and lets you know he was told about your blog and that he has enjoyed your vision on certain topics of interest to him.

You and Mr. I’m Promoting hit it off great and the meeting goes for a solid hour. Before heading back to your desk Mr. I’m Promoting lets you know that a new position is opening up and asks if you would be interested in interviewing for the opportunity.

You of course say yes.

he interview process kicks off and despite the other two candidates having more experience you are selected for the new opportunity.

Mr. I’m Promoting lets you know that your work at the company so far combined with your great ideas on your blog make you a perfect fit for the new opportunity. Mr. I’m Promoting gives you his vote of confidence and only asks that you execute on your ideas and over communicate with him.

You look him in the eyes, shake his hand firmly and head for your new office on a career path filled with opportunity and potential – as long as you execute.

Go execute.


Chad Levitt is the author of the New Sales Economy blog, which focuses on how Sales 2.0 & Social Media can help you connect, create more opportunities and increase your business. Chad is also the featured Sales 2.0 blogger at, the number one web portal for sales pros, the professional athletes of the business world. Make sure to connect with him on Twitter @chadalevitt.

A Personal Branding Tale

November 7, 2009

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We all love stories, right? I remember how my daughter always wanted a story before she fell asleep. I always enjoyed reading or creating stories for her before she drifted off.

Stories are powerful – maybe the most effective way to communicate an idea or concept. In fact, the Bible is a collection of stories, so there must be something to this.

Years ago, I came across a book titled “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt. It is a business management book (how come so many of them are very dry and boring) but this one is different. It is a novel set in a factory, about a manager in trouble at work and at home, and from the first page, you’re hooked. The message is a simple one but told as a story. Of all the business books I’ve read over the years, “The Goal” stands out as one of my favorites because of how the message was delivered as a very compelling story.

Personal Branding blogger Chad Levitt gets his personal branding message across in a very compelling story about a job candidate and the hiring manager. Read on…
A Personal Branding Tale

* By: Chad Levitt on October 31st, 2009 at 5:15 am

Once upon a time….

You have been looking for a new job for months and you just landed an interview with a great company doing something you love.

On the day of the interview you put on your best business attire and head out the door – you look like a true professional.

On the drive to the interview you listen to some music you like to calm yourself or pump yourself up – whatever floats your boat.

You pull into the parking lot feeling excited and walk into the lobby feeling confident, cool and collected.

You walk up to the receptionist and pronounce your name clearly. You let the receptionist know you are here for an interview with Ms. I’m Hiring.

As you sit in the lobby you keep telling yourself that this job is yours for the taking and before you know it Ms. I’m Hiring walks into the lobby and calls your name.

You and Ms. I’m hiring walk to the corner office and you sit down ready to kick off a great interview.

The interview goes great – you have good business and personal rapport going with Ms. I’m Hiring and Ms. I’m Hiring can tell you have done your research on the company.

Everything seems like a fit and you have clearly expressed your desire for the job and Ms. I’m Hiring believes that you are a good candidate for the position. Ms. I’m Hiring ends the interview by saying you will know who received the job within a few days.

Ms. I’m Hiring heads back to the corner office feeling good about the candidates she has interviewed but realizes she has a very tough decision on her hands.

Ms. I’m Hiring reviews her notes from the all the interviews and has identified the top three candidates for the position – you are one of the candidates.

Ms. I’m Hiring reviews the top three resumes and they are equally good. She reviews the work experience for the top candidates and they are all equally qualified. She goes over each interview with the top three candidates and they were all equally good as well.

Feeling stressed Ms. I’m Hiring decides to leave the office and go home for an early evening jog to think things over – after all the weather is beautiful outside. She gets back from her jog and she still has not made a decision – the candidates are all so good.

Just before bed Ms. I’m Hiring decides to Google the candidates to see what she finds on the top three candidates.

She enters candidate number one’s name and finds nothing.

She enters candidate number two’s name and finds nothing.

She enters your name and finds your professional blog and personal website.

She reads some of your posts and really likes your creativity and ideas.

Ms. I’m Hiring closes her laptop, goes to bed and sleeps peacefully.

The next day you receive a phone call and Ms. I’m Hiring says – you are hired – I really enjoyed your blog. When can you start?

You say today.

When will you start creating your personal brand?

How about today?


Chad Levitt is the author of the New Sales Economy blog, which focuses on how Sales 2.0 & Social Media can help you connect, create more opportunities and increase your business. Chad is also the featured Sales 2.0 blogger at, the number one web portal for sales pros, the professional athletes of the business world. Make sure to connect with him on Twitter @chadalevitt.

LinkedIn Tips for Executive Job Search

November 5, 2009

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Being a senior manager or executive in transition requires all of the experience, creativity and courage learned over your lifetime these days. The game has changed and the old rules are gone. The new rules? Evolving. Stay tuned. The rule that is known is being visible online and the place for the professional is still LinkedIn. Yes, Facebook and Twitter seem to be the social media rage right now and may ultimately displace LinkedIn, but with 40 million users and growing, it is the site for professional online networking.

So what? If you don’t have a complete profile or ‘feed’ it occasionally, you’re at a competitive disadvantage.
Meg Guiseppi has an excellent post on some of the basics, as well as a wealth of free resources (her e-book Executive Branding and Your LinkedIn Profile: How to Transform Your Executive Brand, Resume, and Career Biography Into a Winning LinkedIn Profile) and very informative links. Take a look here.
How unique is your current LinkedIn profile and is it attracting attention?

Givers and Takers – Who are they?

October 8, 2009

JP Headshot1 The following is a repost from Thom Singer’s excellent Blog “Some Assembly Required”
I really can’t add anything to this… enjoy!


Do Not Kill The Golden Goose
A small percentage of people have the “givers gene” – that little something in their soul where they always take the necessary action to help other people whenever they can… even when there is no direct pay off for them (maybe especially when they have nothing to gain!).

I think only about 5% of the people you meet will move mountains to help others achieve (not scientific… just an estimation).

This is not saying that the other 95% at “takers”. In fact, real selfish SOB’s are rare. I am hoping less than 5% of people we will encounter are really so self-focused that they despise seeing others discover their dreams. These people think that someone else winning is somehow a loss in their world.

The majority, the 90%, are all good people who want to see others do well. They are inspired by those who accomplish great things. They admire them. Inside their hearts they are happy when they know of another person having a victory. But they do not go out of their way to contribute.

This silent majority have good intentions, they just never take action.

Most of these people desire to be “givers”. Often they think they regularly are givers, but only follow through on occasion. Some even talk about it a lot, but just get too busy with their own stuff. With their jobs, their family obligations, the economy, and other pressures, they just cannot find the time to make other people a priority.

But there rare souls who pick up the phone and make introductions, referrals, give useful advice, and are the catalyst for others success.

We all long to be one of those people who impact other people. It can be done in large or small ways, but it feels good to know that you contributed to a victory, even when you are behind the scenes. (This is not to say that you will be able to help everyone, as no single person has the power to be the central contact for good to every person they encounter!).

It is important that you identify the people in your circle of influence who are always taking action to facilitate success for others (especially, but not only if, they help you directly) and then treat them well. Recognize that they are unique, and try to find ways to help them in return.

Do not kill the golden goose. Too often I find people who do not properly appreciate the people who impact their life, and they allow those relationships to drift away. Even those with the “givers gene” need people to give to them. While you may not have the ability to impact their career or deliver them a business connection that will change their world, a simple “thank you” goes a long way.

The mistake that people make is thinking that “networking” and serving others has to be an equal give and take. There is no way that we can always be equal in the world of human interaction. If you try to keep score of who gave what to whom, somebody will always come up short. Instead you need to acknowledge those who help you (the gratitude is in itself a form of payment!!) and then “Pay It Forward” (when one person helps you through their ability, you go on to help someone else in a way that you can, and so on, and so on, etc…).

What do you think? Is my 5% assumption too high? Too low? Who have you witnessed giving to others (not just to you)? Do you cherish the relationship with givers? Have you ever “killed the golden goose” by accident?

Have A Great Day